Fantasy Puzzle: What Will You Pay For Madison Bumgarner?

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.


  • 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


  • 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.

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Perpetually Cynical Mets Fan
Perpetually Cynical Mets Fan

I’d be happy paying anything under $25 for him–he’s no Kershaw, but he’s clearly a top-tier fantasy starter. That said, I expect that, in most leagues, someone will overreact to his postseason, and pay more than that.