Minor League Bummer?

Minor League Bummer?
April 16, 2010, 12:25 am
Share This Post

Apr. 15, 2010MYCHAEL URBAN ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO

Its never a good idea to freak out this early in the season, but thats not stopping Giants fans from freaking out over Madison Bumgarner.Reason being, its not all that early when you factor in the six weeks of spring training.Fact is, the freaking out is becoming more justifiable by the day.Bumgarner, he of the splashy minor-league numbers and the ultra-promising big-league cameos late last season, has put up some truly awful numbers in the minors since losing the competition for the fifth spot in the Giants rotation with a desultory camp.Pitching for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, hes made two starts, worked seven innings and allowed 21 hits and 11 earned runs. His ERA is over 14, his opponents batting average over .500.The more important numbers, however, are these: 85, 86, 87.Thats about where his best fastballs are sitting on scouts radar guns. At the start of last season, those numbers were 90, 92, 94.Words getting out, a scout told me by phone early Friday evening. Somethings up with the young fella. Something aint right.The Giants say they arent freaking out, but they arent saying what might be behind the dramatically reduced velocity, either. If they did know, theyd probably come out with it.Then again, this is the same team that hid Freddy Sanchezs shoulder surgery for a month.Might Bumgarner be injured? Of course. Until we hear definitively that hes not, its going to be a theory. And until the kid starts putting up better numbers, Giants fans have every reason for freaking out. --Mychael Urban