When Madison Bumgarner takes the mound for the Connecticut Defenders this afternoon in Portland, Maine, fans at Hadlock Field will be in for a treat. San Francisco’s top prospect and arguably the top pitching prospect in the game, the 19-year-old lefthander features a mid-90s fastball, a power slider, and is 2-0, 0.75 in a pair of Double-A outings after beginning the season with the Giants high-A affiliate in San Jose. Bumgarner talked about his approach to pitching prior to Friday night’s game.
David Laurila: How would you describe the pitching philosophy in the Giants organization?
Madison Bumgarner: Well, I don’t know if there is really one philosophy for everybody. It’s the same as probably anywhere, you just want to go out there and throw as few pitches as you can and get guys out, so that you can give your team a chance to win. We try to get ground balls. Strikeouts are good, but they’re definitely overrated. They just keep you in the game longer to throw more pitches, so I’ve been trying to sort of get guys out early. That way I can get deeper into games and save pitches.
DL: How does a pitcher effectively pitch to contact?
MB: You know, you just have to try to throw strikes and stay ahead, and let the hitters do what they’re doing up there. You have to just let your defense work.
DL: What is your repertoire right now?
MB: I have a fastball, obviously, and I throw a slider and a changeup. The changeup is coming along really good, and the slider has been pretty good last year and this year. Hopefully they’re all on their way to being plus pitches.
DL: In the average game, how many of each pitch will you throw?
MB: I don’t really throw a whole lot of off-speed stuff. I’d be afraid to say a percentage, but it’s definitely not too many off-speed pitches. I throw a lot of fastballs.
DL: How would you describe the movement on your fastball?
MB: I’ve been told that it sinks a little bit and I’ve been told that it kind of jumps at you, but I don’t really know. I can’t really tell throwing it; I can’t see it good. I throw a two-seam and a four-seam and I can’t really see a big difference in either one of them.
DL: I believe that you were throwing a curveball last spring. Is that true?
MB: No, I didn’t throw a curveball. Not since high school, just messing around with it. I’ve always just thrown a slider.
DL: You’re beginning to receive a lot of media attention. How is it dealing with that?
MB: It’s kind of cool that they want to talk to us and all that. I try to have fun with it. It’s not too bad; it’s not a bad thing, definitely.