Giants prospect Madison Bumgarner is a mess

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Madison Bumgarner was the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft and ranked as the game’s ninth-best prospect by Baseball America heading into last season, one spot ahead of Rangers flamethrower Neftali Feliz.
He lived up to the hype, going 12-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 25 starts between Single-A and Double-A, and reached the majors a month after his 20th birthday. Unfortunately once there Bumgarner’s velocity was well below his peak levels, with his average fastball clocking in at 89.2 miles per hour.
Certainly plenty of 19-year-old pitchers tire late during a season, so Baseball America ranked him as the game’s 14th-best prospect this season and Bumgarner’s declining velocity wasn’t a huge story until he showed up at spring training to compete for the fifth spot in the Giants’ rotation. His fastball rarely topped the mid-80s and he predictably got rocked for a 6.43 ERA while handing out seven walks with zero strikeouts.
Bumgarner lost the fifth-starter competition to veteran Todd Wellemeyer and reported to Triple-A, where things have gotten even worse. He gave up 11 hits over three innings in his debut last week and was pasted for seven runs on 10 hits in four innings yesterday. Through two starts Bumgarner has a 14.14 ERA and .538 opponents’ batting average after coming into the season with a 27-5 record and 1.65 ERA in the minors.
In the span of just a couple months he’s gone from elite prospect competing for a rotation spot at age 20 to likely midseason call-up to … well, now it’s tough to figure exactly what the Giants plan to do with Bumgarner. His fastball is missing 5-10 miles per hour and Triple-A hitters are teeing off on him. Something clearly isn’t right with him physically at this point and the Giants need to figure it out before things get totally out of hand.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.