By In Stuff

Bumgarner is ridiculous

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Yes, Madison Bumgarner is ridiculous.

I’m not sure there’s much more to say than that. Madison Bumgarner hit two home runs on Opening Day … a first for a pitcher. But, as crazy as it sounds, it wasn’t that he hit two home runs. He hit two ABSURD home runs.

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11 Responses to Bumgarner is ridiculous

  1. Pat says:

    MAN am I glad baseball is back.

  2. Crazy Diamond says:

    Joe should make a poll to see who we think were the best hitting pitchers! Obviously Babe Ruth is the best =) but it seems like there were quite a few good-hitting pitchers from the 80s and 00s, too. If I remember right, Dwight Gooden and Fernando Valenzuela were pretty good and of course Mike Hampton was great. Rick Ankiel wasn’t bad either!

  3. KHAZAD says:

    There really has only been one good hitting pitcher who was not eventually converted to a position player (though I believe he tried to after his career was over – the other pitchers were switched during their career and played early in the century) His name was Micah Owings. He was the only league average hitting pitcher in the live ball era(playing 70% plus of his games at pitcher) with even 100 career PAs. If you go down to 50% there is a guy named Wes Ferrel in the 1920s who also qualifies with a 100 OPS+

    There are guys, like Bumgarner, who have good days,and athleticism or occasional power, but the good hitting pitcher is a myth. They are good hitters only when compared to other pitchers. There are 161 pitchers since 2008 who have accumulated 100 PAs since 2008 when Bumgarner came into the league, and only 4 are better than his 55 OPS+ (which includes today.)which does make him one of the best hitting pitchers of his era.

    Bumgarner has 524 career PAs. There have been 705 non pitchers who have accumulated 524 PAs since 2008. Only 10 carried OPS+ of 55 or under during that time, which puts Bumgarner in the bottom 1.4% of non pitching hitters in his era – and he is the guy who always seems to be lauded as the reason why we must watch pitchers hit. About 89% of the pitchers who accumulated 100 PAs in that time are worse than EVERY position player to accumulate even 350 career PAs.

    It’s a cute opening day story. But even the best pitchers are still bad hitters.

    • invitro says:

      What about Doc Crandall? He was a pitcher/second baseman from 1908-1918 for the Giants and then the Federal League. He had 302 games as a pitcher, and 84 games at 2B and other positions. His OPS+ was 120. As a pitcher, he looks like a half-starter, half-closer… he led baseball in games finished from 1909-1913. (I might have to look up more about his guy… he led with 21 games finished twice, I would’ve thought the leader would have more in those years.) Crandall is also #1 among pitchers in WAR/PA, which is how I found him. Hampton is #2, but his OPS+ is only 67; pitchers were much better hitters way back when, or maybe hitters are much better hitters in modern times.

      • invitro says:

        Some stuff on Crandall from Wikipedia: He was the first player to be consistently used as a relief pitcher. Consequently, he was given the nickname Doc by Damon Runyon who said Crandall was “the physician of the pitching emergency”.

        While Crandall frequently started, he led the league in number of relief appearances for five consecutive seasons while with the Giants. In the period from 1910 to 1912, he also led in relief victories going 45–16 overall in that time period. The Giants won three consecutive pennants from 1911 to 1913 with Crandall’s help. Even with his bulky frame, Crandall was a quick fielder and thus played infield positions.

        With his .285 lifetime hitting average, he was often a pinch hitter and in 1910 he led with a .342 batting average. When the Giants sent him to the Cardinals in 1913 public outcry in New York was so big that the Giants bought him back after only two games. However, he ended up in St. Louis again a year later in the Federal league where he played more at second base than as pitcher. In 1915 he led the Federal League winning six times as relief pitcher out of his total 21 wins in that league. After sitting out the 1917 season, he made an abbreviated comeback in 1918 with the Braves.

      • invitro says:

        “I would’ve thought the leader would have more in those years.” — Oops, apparently games finished means games finished when not a starter. Of course Walter Johnson and dozens of others had many more games finished in those years. 🙂

      • KHAZAD says:

        Note that I said “Live Ball Era” which starts in 1921. Also, Crandall did not play 70% as a pitcher. He was a pitcher AND a position player and pinch hitter, failing to throw a pitch in 40% of his appearances.

        In the dead ball era, there are actually 11 pitchers with at least 100 PAs who played 70% of their games at pitcher with an OPS+ of at least 100 but….. 7 of the 11 played entirely in the 1800s, and one of the remaining 4 just barely got 100 PAs in before the live ball era and ended his career with a 32 OPS+, leaving just 3 between 1900 and 1920.

        The 3 with over 100 OPS+ (2 at 106 one at 101) had short careers and a small sample size. Owings leads in PAs with 219, and all of them were done before their age 30 season.

        That leaves the George Mullin, who had the longest career predominantly as a pitcher hitting for exactly a league average OPS+ of 100. George had 1685 PAs (entirely in the dead ball era)and won 200 games as a workhorse starter in the early 1900s.

        George is the only league average hitter who played at least 70% of their games as a pitcher with 220 of more career PAs. (Out of 1165 qualifiers)

  4. The only problem with Joe writing for MLB.com is – what about other sports?

    • Crazy Diamond says:

      Joe’s best writing is usually in regards to MLB. If it were up to me, he’d dedicate his entire life to just writing about the Baseball HOF, lol. He’s BY FAR the best HOF writer on the planet!

  5. Zeke Bob says:

    I really think the main reason for this is simply that they can’t focus on pitching and hitting though, simply as a time/energy commitment, not that there haven’t been good hitting pitchers.

    I remember Jason Jennings from the Big 12 (where he was a two time Player of the Year), who later pitched primarily for the Colorado Rockies, and that guy could rake. Just looked up his college stats (which was harder to find than I thought):
    Year Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
    1997 Baylor 49 158 25 48 13 0 4 35 2 0 23 22 0.304 0.392 0.462 854
    1998 Baylor 58 211 42 69 14 0 18 58 0 0 21 26 0.327 0.388 0.649 1037
    1999 Baylor 65 233 52 90 14 0 17 68 1 1 49 35 0.386 0.493 0.665 1158
    2001 Colorado Rockies 7 15 2 4 1 0 1 2 0 0 1 3 0.267 0.313 0.533 845
    2002 Colorado Rockies 30 62 6 19 4 0 0 11 0 0 3 13 0.306 0.348 0.371 719
    2003 Colorado Rockies 31 54 3 12 3 0 0 3 0 0 5 16 0.222 0.283 0.278 561
    2004 Colorado Rockies 35 71 3 17 4 0 1 6 0 0 2 16 0.239 0.26 0.338 598
    2005 Colorado Rockies 22 38 0 6 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 12 0.158 0.2 0.184 384

    Started off as a solid hitter even in the majors for his first two seasons and then started to tail off. I’m sure he would have been a decent hitter if that’s what he focused on, but then it would have been difficult to be a pitcher I think – feels like a Catch 22.

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