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Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: SLIGHT DIP IN MADISON BUMGARNER VELOCITY AN OMEN?

Ever since San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner cemented himself as a firm member of the team's rotation in 2010, anyone who has witnessed the lefty operate on a mound would quickly come away with the notion he is a slam-dunk top five starter in all of fantasy baseball.  In addition to his 200-plus strikeout stuff and excellent control, Bumgarner has also been lauded for his rubber arm that has tossed 200 or more innings now in six straight seasons.  The highlight of course was Bumgarner's insane 2014 performance when the Giants knocked off the Kansas City Royals when he put his name up there with the all-time greats in the postseason.  So as we move to 2017 fantasy baseball, we have to at least reiterate concerns we have here which have been in place since that ridiculous workload by Bumgarner in 2014.  Simply put, there is only so many massive inning seasons in a pitcher's arm before trouble arises and it usually begins with a fastball that begins losing velocity.  Pretty soon this pitchers becomes more hittable than ever before and careers can wash out early like what we have seen from Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and now maybe Felix Hernandez.  While Bungarner is not there yet, the fact his fastball average velocity was down a full mph last season was at least somewhat alarming.  Now it could very well be a one-year anomoly as Bumarner is still very young at 27 but keep in mind both Cain and Lincecum began eroding quickly at that age when their velocity dropped.  Again not to be an alarmist but Bumgarner will eventually run into trouble with all those innings on his arm and that means you need to think about this before using a late second or maybe early third round pick on the guy.  A top five pitcher Bumgarner remains but again there is growing risk here as each and every season goes on by.  I am not saying you avoid him outright but Bumgarner is now on the "watch" list in terms of his stuff possibly going the wrong direction.


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