Each season in fantasy baseball there are a few days during the six-month slog where almost everyone involved in the game stops and takes notice of a certain gigantic news item. Such a scenario didn’t get any bigger in 2017 when it was revealed on April 21st that San Francisco Giants ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner would miss 3 months after suffering a serious shoulder injury during a dirt bike accident. Universally considered a top five starter in all of fantasy baseball, Bumgarner’s loss was astronomical to say the least. While he did return on July 15th, Bumgarner’s owners received just 17 total starts for the cost of a Round 2/3 pick. Clearly rusty upon returning to action, Bumgarner’s composite 3.32 ERA was his highest since 2012 and the strikeout rate tumbled from 2016’s 9.97 to last year’s 8.19. Throw in a lucky .272 BABIP (adjusted FIP of 3.94/ XFIP of 4.07) and Bumgarner was far from his past ace levels. Be that as it may, we will give Bumgarner a complete mulligan on 2017 given the insane misfortune quotient and instead bank on the extreme durability/consistency. Still just 28-years-old, Bumgarner can very easily go back to his mid-2.00 ERA/240-K tier as long as he kicks the biking for good. While there has been legitimate concern about the insane amount of innings Bumgarner has already thrown in his career, look at it as a bit of a blessing the fact he tossed just 111 frames last season. Likely feeling refreshed from the light workload, count on Bumgarner moving right back to his ace self once again.
2018 PROJECTION: 17-5 2.75 ERA 1.04 WHIP 225 K