The Diamondbacks placed left-hander Madison Bumgarner on the 10-day injured list with a mid-back strain Monday, the latest concerning development for the 31-year-old starter in what’s been a trying year for the four-time All-Star. GM Mike Hazen says he doesn’t expect Bumgarner to miss too much time, likely meaning that this move was made with the intention of giving the longtime former Giant some rest and an opportunity for a mental reset more than anything else:
Mike Hazen said he doesn't expect Bumgarner to be out very long. Said his scans were pretty good. Most likely to fill in are Taylor Clarke, Taylor Widener or Alex Young https://t.co/eiRHAv2gwa— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) August 10, 2020
Bumgarner has had a disastrous start to his Diamondbacks career, going 0-3 with a 9.35 ERA, a 1.56 WHIP, 13 strikeouts, seven walks, and four hit batters in four starts (17.1 innings). He had a particularly disastrous start Sunday against the Padres, allowing five hits, including four homers, and two walks, while lasting just two innings and giving up six runs.
Beyond Bumgarner’s stats, there’s plenty of concern about his major drop in velocity. While Bumgarner has never exactly been a fireballer — he’s generally relied on a funky delivery from the left side to deceive hitters — it seems alarming that his four-seamer’s average velocity has dropped from 91.4 MPH in 2019 to 87.8 MPH so far in 2020.
Bumgarner seemed to be a good bet to age well considering that he doesn’t rely too heavily on elite fastball velocity and has historically done a great job of avoiding injuries. With that said, the Diamondbacks have to be wondering, at least a little bit, whether they made a huge mistake when they gave Bumgarner a five-year, $85 million contract over the winter.