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Todd Wellemeyer’s Latest Stumble Increases Volume of Cries for Madison Bumgarner

If you haven’t heard them before, you should definitely start to hear them now.

Todd Wellemeyer’s latest debacle on the mound has many San Francisco Giants fans pining (even louder) for the promotion of top pitching prospect Madison Bumgarner.

After a spring training stint that was about as absurd as the new immigration law in Arizona, Bumgarner is once again turning heads with the Fresno Grizzlies, and it might be wise for GM Brian Sabean to strike while the iron is hot.

Those who have been following Bumgarner know that his start to the 2010 season was laughable.

In Scottsdale, the highly touted prospect looked more like a fish out of water, consistently flopping and floundering on the mound. Through seven innings pitched in spring training, Bumgarner struggled mightily, allowing five runs, seven walks, and eight hits. 

Things did not get any better for Bumgarner down in Fresno early in the season. His fastball had apparently lost its infamous zip, and batters were making this Top-50 prospect look vastly overrated.

Bumgarner started off his first month in Triple-A getting lit like a Christmas tree. In his first two starts, he thrashed around for seven innings, giving up 11 runs, 21 hits, and only striking out six. For the entire month of April, he put together a miserable 6.50 ERA, a 1-1 record, and a 1.89 WHIP.

As of late, however, something has clicked back into place for Bumgarner, and he is quickly transforming back into the formidable pitcher that fans were once dying to see pitch in San Francisco.

So far in the month of May, Bumgarner is mowing down opponents. Through four starts, he is posting a remarkable 1.50 ERA with a much more respectable 7.5 K/9 and 0.92 WHIP.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Wellemeyer.

This past month, Wellemeyer has been getting pummeled. Through 19.2 innings pitched, he has given up 11 earned runs, posting a horrid 5.03 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.

But is it too soon to call up the rather inexperienced Bumgarner to replace the consistently inconsistent Wellemeyer?

As easy as it is to say yes, now could be a better time than any to throw this young pitching prospect into the fire.

Bumgarner certainly could not do any worse than Wellemeyer’s current production, plus a call-up would allow this young pitcher to gain valuable major league pitching experience. 

As he has shown in his last few starts, Bumgarner is maturing into the elite pitcher that scouts and experts have been labeling him with since his first round selection in the 2007 MLB Draft.

Bringing up Bumgarner also allows Wellemeyer to fix whatever is wrong with him down in Fresno rather than getting knocked around every fifth day in the Bigs.

The escalation of Bumgarner’s advancement might be sooner than most would hope, but the opportunity to make a change is persistently presenting itself, and the future could be now for this potential MLB star. 


Article originally published on The McCovey Cove Splash

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San Francisco Giants Prospect Peek: Top Five Minor League Pitchers in 2010

The San Francisco Giants are stacked with pitching.  Anyone half-heartedly following the team by the bay should already know this.

From Tim Lincecum all the way down to Jonathan Sanchez, the Giants’ starting rotation is the envy of almost every team in the league.  While GMs around the MLB try to ape this rotation through trades and free agent signings, San Francisco has consistently found ways to strike pitching gold through the MLB Draft.

The Giants’ staff of arms is undoubtedly strong from one through four with the only unstable piece being the offseason addition of their No. 5 pitcher, Todd Wellemeyer.

Wellemeyer’s unimpressive start with the Giants has drawn the concern of many on whether or not he should be replaced, and more importantly, if San Francisco has any more pitching gems buried somewhere deep within the farm to take his spot.

Giants GM Brian Sabean has outwardly expressed his concerns with Wellemeyer.  Whether his demotion comes sooner rather than later, San Francisco will most likely see another young face join their rotation sometime during this elongated season.     

With that said, let’s take a look at the top performing pitchers in the San Francisco Giants’ farm system, and see if there is yet another promising pitching prospect that fans should be excited to make the Big Show this year or perhaps sometime further into the future. 


Eric Hacker – Fresno Grizzlies (Triple-A)

Signed to a minor league contract this offseason, Eric Hacker is hardly a newcomer to the minors. For the past eight years, he has chopped his way through the lower league jungle, spending the majority of his time in the Yankees’ and Pirates’ farm systems.

This season with the Giants, Hacker exploded out to an excellent start, winning his first five games while only allowing five runs total in that span.

Hacker has stumbled slightly since his hot start (allowing three runs in both of his last two appearances), but the minor league journeyman is showing that he still has a ton of gas left in the tank.

His six wins this season is the most among Fresno pitchers, and he is tied for the most wins among all pitchers in San Francisco’s farm.


Justin Fitzgerald – San Jose Giants (A-Advanced)

After spending his entire 2009 season with the Augusta Green Jackets as a reliever, Justin Fitzgerald solidified a spot in San Jose’s starting rotation coming out of the spring and he is relishing the opportunity.

In his five starts for the Giants, Fitzgerald has put together an impressive 3-0 record with a near-perfect 1.20 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.  His strikeouts have taken a noticeable dip from the 10.1 K/9 that he posted in 2009 to a 4.8 K/9 this season, but he has improved immensely in his BB/9, knocking this number down from 4.3 to 1.8.

Fitzgerald has yet to give up a home run this season, and his last outing (May 12) was the deepest he has gone since joining the Giants’ organization (7IP, 7H, 2ER).

While Fitzgerald’s game still needs a bit of polishing, his promising beginning as a starter has many people excited about this prospect’s future. 


Eric Surkamp – San Jose Giants (A-Advanced)

A sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft, Eric Surkamp spent the entirety of last season in Augusta, where in 23 starts, he recorded a 3.30 ERA and an 11.6 K/9, with an 11-5 record.

This season, he made the jump to Double-A, and he is doing his best to continue his excellence from last year.

Through seven starts and 44 innings pitched, Surkamp is dazzling opponents.  In his last start against Bakersfield Blaze, Surkamp twirled a complete game shutout, striking out seven, while walking only one and giving up two hits.

His 2-1 record is not quite indicative of his early season success.  A practically spotless 2.05 ERA and 0.91 WHIP has many salivating about the future talent that this prospect can bring to this organization.


Daryl Maday – Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A)

Although he has only pitched over six innings once this season, Daryl Maday is riding an exquisite six-game winning streak with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, forcing people to look twice at this late pick from the 2006 MLB Draft.

In his first year in the Giants’ farm system, Maday quickly moved up to Double-A ball last season, but his progress up the ladder has since stalled.   However, things appear to be heading in a different direction for Maday in 2010.

Through his seven starts, Maday has posted a remarkable 1.54 ERA and 1.12 WHIP.  He collected his sixth win on May 12, tying his win total from last year.

Maday’s 7.7 H/9 is the lowest it has been since he was drafted and his ceiling for improvement seems to be rising.   


Joe Martinez – Fresno Grizzlies (Triple-A)

Most fans will remember the name Joe Martinez—but probably not for his pitching.  Martinez took a comeback pitch right off his dome last season in a game with San Francisco, and missed practically the entire season because of a fractured skull.

This season, Martinez is arduously working his way back up to the Show, and a 3-1 record with a 7.2 K/9 as a Grizzles’ pitcher is pushing him in the right direction. 

However, Martinez is struggling slightly in run containment when he is on the mound, posting a pedestrian 3.92 ERA in his seven starts this season.  While his strikeout totals are still impressive, keeping runners off the base paths was a huge problem for Martinez when he was up in San Francisco, and if the big-wigs think that he is still having this problem down in Fresno, then it could be a while before we see him back up in the MLB.

Five More Prospects on the Bubble


Please check out more articles by Jason here on Bleacher Report and at .


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Should the San Francisco Giants Be Concerned about Their Bullpen?

Tim Lincecum can’t seem to catch a break.

In his past two starts, Lincecum was the epitome of the stat “quality starts,” striking out 23 batters through 15.1 innings and only allowing five runs on eight hits. But because of his bullpen, the Freak failed to record a win in over a week.

For the “one game a week” fans, San Francisco’s inability to close out games for Lincecum has created some murmurings that the Giants bullpen could be in trouble.    

While Brandon Medders, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, and Brian Wilson have coughed up a few untimely runs in their past few games, the bullpen as a whole is actually one of the best in Major League Baseball.

The Giants’ bullpen has the seventh best ERA in the MLB, allowing only 24 runs and posting an above-average 3.20 ERA. They also rank seventh in hits (67), seventh in home runs allowed (6), and fourth in earned runs (25).

But with the good also comes the bad.

Although Wilson is tied for seventh in the league in saves, the Giants’ save percentage as a team is a middle-of-the-road 63.6 percent. Romo leads the team with four blown saves and two of his last three outings have been shaky.     

With a sweep of the reigning National League Champs in their grasp, Romo failed to lock it up, struggling to keep his pitch count down and runners from crossing the plate. After being saddled with the loss against the Phillies, Romo seemed to be back on track until he served up a home run to Florida’s Dan Uggla in Tuesday’s appearance. 

But with every sub-par performance that Romo and Medders bring to mound, there are also lights-out innings from the likes of Dan Runlzer and Guillermo Mota.

Mota’s 0.87 ERA ranks in the Top 20 amongst pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched. In the month of April he threw 8.1 innings, faced 32 batters, and gave up zero runs. His first hiccup came against Colorado on May 1 in a non-crucial relief appearance.

Runzler has also been nearly mmaculate to start off the season, only allowing runs in one appearance. The three runs allowed to the Padres back in April have inflated his ERA to a modest 2.25, but outside of this one blemish, Runzler’s stuff has been absolute amazing. 

In 12 innings this season, the young prospect has faced 42 batters, struck out 12, given up only one home run, and maintained an outstanding 1.25 WHIP. 

With the Giants starting pitching going deep into almost every game, San Francisco’s bullpen has been used sparingly, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Solid starting pitching provides the bullpen with that much needed rest, that ultimately benefits the team further into season. 

On the other hand, too much rest can promote rust on the arms of these relievers, which can create concerns when calling on pitchers in fiery situations. Keeping the arms in the bullpen fresh is a great thing, but making sure they stay sharp is an entirely different issue.

This may lead to a situation like Lincecum’s start against the Phillies, where Bruce Bochy tried to balance the wear and tear of his pitching staff by making the tough decisions to pull the hook.

However, it is still way too early to start freaking out about a few tough innings by certain members of the Giants’ bullpen. San Francisco has several strong arms relieving their starters and these “Pen Heads” have the ability to pick each other up when one in them struggles.

As long as the Giants’ starting pitching continues to dominate, the Bay Area should not have to lean too heavily on or worry too much about their bullpen…at least for now.


Please check out more articles by Jason here on Bleacher Report and at

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Top Five Aprils in the History of the San Francisco Giants

Getting off to a good start is important in almost every facet of life.

In baseball, starting off the season on the right foot can set a team up for a nice run deep into the season.

The ability to collect a surplus of wins in April does wonders for losing streaks that a team may experience further down the long road that is the Major League Baseball season.

Like any team in the MLB, the San Francisco Giants have had their own ups and downs during the first month of baseball. Since the Giants moved over from New York after the 1957 season, San Francisco has posted a respectable 583-519 in the month of April.

Of course, some seasons have started off better than others for the Orange and Black after relocating to the Bay Area.

While many fans will remember these seasons like they just happened yesterday, younger fans might not remember the awesome starts that their Giants jumped out to in the past.

Here is a list of the Top Five Aprils in the History of the San Francisco Giants:

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