When we all applied to be part of the MLB Fan Cave Contest, applicants were required to write two articles. One that I chose to wrote was regarding a “young star that could win the MVP/Cy Young this year”. After watching Madison Bumgarner pitch gems the last few seasons, I knew he was the perfect candidate. The following is the essay I submitted to the MLB Fan Cave.
Now I’d be lying to myself if I was about to write about a young Cy Young candidate and didn’t mention the likes of Clayton Kershaw or Tim Lincecum. Both of these pitchers definitely have a chance to repeat as Cy Young winners, but I’m going to give you a little insight into the young talent that could shock the MLB this season.
There are two young stars that have potent offenses and have been on my baseball radar for quite some time: Brandon Beachy of the Atlanta Braves and Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants. Of the two, I’d say Bumgarner has a better shot at winning the Cy Young in 2012, and here’s why.
Cy Young winners need to put up almost inhuman numbers throughout the season and the young 22 year-old lefty seems to be on the right track. Last season, he threw on average 6.1IP per game and broke the 200IP barrier. Of his 33 starts, he let up more than 4 runs only 5 times garnering him an impressive season ERA of 3.21. Bumgarner struck out nearly 6 batters per game, which was enough to finish the season in the top tier of pitchers. His K/BB of 4.15 was 10th in the MLB and his 1.21 WHIP can certainly be respected.
Now, I could spit stats at you the whole day about why Madison Bumgarner is a perfect Cy Young candidate, but once you see the kid throw his 85 mph slider and baffle hitters as it dances so delicately around the strike zone, he may just convince the entire league. On top of all of his accomplishments from last year and the important role he played in the San Francisco Giants’ postseason run in 2010, he also has a stellar lineup to back him up.
The Giants recently acquired Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera to help bolster the offense that was non-existent last season. Not only that, the Giants injury ridden team will be back to full health beginning the 2012 season. Pat Burrell, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey will all be back sporting the orange and black. Because of the injuries, the Giants ranked in the bottom tier in all major categories. Bumgarner will need these players back in order to get the stellar defense he needs and a plethora of runs to help Madison get to the 20-win season that all pitchers strive for. Throwing at the pitcher friendly AT&T Park will also help tremendously. Last year it ranked last in runs scored and home runs allowed, which is something pitchers always like to see.