Fantasy Puzzle: What Will You Pay For Madison Bumgarner? by Brad Johnson October 31, 2014 Madison Bumgarner has emerged as a reliable fantasy ace, one that nobody can ignore after a fantastic postseason. He practically won the World Series all by himself (more on that in this year’s THT Annual) with a 1.03 ERA, four wins, and a save over 52.2 October innings. He’s a consistent source of fantasy gold due to above average peripherals. His ERA and FIP generally hover around 3.00, making him a four category starter. Home is pitcher friendly AT&T Park, which adds an extra layer of value. Today’s puzzle question is: What will you pay for him next season? Here’s a short list of pros and cons to consider. For the purpose of this evaluation, let’s assume a 12 team, $260 auction with standard shallow rosters. That includes nine starting position players, nine pitchers, and a 1450 inning cap. To put pitcher value in perspective, Clayton Kershaw averaged a $30 paycheck according to FantasyPros, although injury deflated his cost somewhat. Pros: Four category production Over 200 major league innings in each of the past four seasons and averaged 6.6 innings per start in 2014 Elite K%-BB% (generally around 20) Favorable ballpark Excellent stuff backed by consistently strong peripherals Durable; minimal injury history Cons: Mileage; pitched 270 innings in 2014 (excluding spring training) Pitched 1113.2 innings (regular season, minor leagues, and postseason) since the start of 2010 May throw a lot of sliders* which correlates to increased injury risk Giants offense could be flimsy next season depending on offseason moves (i.e. run support is in question) *BrooksBaseball classifies it as a cutter, which I believe to be correct. However, depending on how a cutter is thrown, it could theoretically have a similar effect as an injury indicator. That is my supposition as somebody who has spent a lot of time working with cutters and is not supported by research. I find it somewhat concerning that Bumgarner’s cutter is over 4 mph slower than his fastball. That tells me it’s somewhere between a slider and a cutter. In summary, we have an excellent, durable pitcher who has piled up a few important injury indicators. Keep in mind, he’s entering his age 25 season. So, how do you price this October phenom? Feel free to answer with a specific number or describe in general terms how various parts of his profile will affect your valuation.