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Madison Bumgarner preview link roundup

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Keyboards are broken from how much has been written about this guy.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Madison Bumgarner. The opponent. The man. The pitcher. The guy the Royals will try to hit. The guy the Royals will try to beat. Game 1 starter.

Normally, I'd do some analysis of the numbers, including traditional stuff, PitchF/X stuff, trends, etc. There has been so much written about this guy, and you read some about him in the interview with Aaron Boone, that I think it would be better to try to round up the links from the internet about him. So, I'll give you a link and a quick summary of the article after a quick table showing his 2014 numbers.

IP K% BB% HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP fWAR
217.1 25.1% 4.9% 0.87 0.296 75.8% 44.4% 10.0% 2.98 3.05 2.99 3.6

Breaking Down Madison Bumgarner by Eno Sarris

Bumgarner is counted among the group of pitchers bucking the "keep the ball down" trend. He is using his deadly fastball high in the zone, and he's also throwing it inside on righties more due to a shift toward third base on the rubber. Aaron Boone mentioned that Bumgarner was going inside even more this postseason. Bumgarner can also alter the speed and break of his cutter/slider to keep hitters off balance. Bumgarner is holding righties to a low level of production since he made these changes.

Madison Bumgarner: Elite Fastball Pitcher by Jeff Sullivan

The adjustments with the fastball mentioned in Eno's piece led that pitch to be one of the best fastballs of the second half of the season. While Bumgarner is throwing the fastball in more, he's shifting his cutter to be more away. Bumgarner has also picked up velocity as the season has gone on.

The Nastiest Pitches We'll See in the World Series, Subjectively by August Fagerstrom

Bumgarner's fastball is the 6th nastiest pitch we'll see. He has a ridiculous whiff rate with the fastball.

Pitching Backward: How to Get a Hit Off Madison Bumgarner by Jeff Long (I could access this without subscription)

The first pitch against righties will usually be a fastball. Against lefties, fastballs and cutters. The fastball will be inside against righties. If the pitch is up, it's more likely to be a fastball. If the pitch is down, it's more likely to be a cutter.

If the batter falls behind, Bumgarner's pitch mix becomes more varied. Instead of near 100% of the time seeing a fastball or cutter, the percentage falls to about 76% of the time. Against righties, those fastballs and cutters could come anywhere. Against lefties, those fastballs and cutters will be away.

If the batter gets ahead, Bumgarner approaches the hitter like he does on the first pitch with mostly fastballs and cutters, and they will often be strikes. In even counts, hitters can still expect more fastballs and cutters as well.

With two strikes, Bumgarner's usage becomes more varied again. If the hitter can identify the curveball early, the hitter should lay off as the pitch will most likely be under the strike zone. Bumgarner will attempt to go up and away to all hitters with the fastball.

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot by Doug Thorburn (Behind BPro's paywall)

Another article about MadBum's fastball. Bumgarner has exceptional command due to fantastic, robotic mechanics that allow him to repeat his delivery and release point. His fastball and cutter follow similar flight paths, making it difficult to identify which pitch is coming.

Madison Bumgarner's Evolution by Me

As long as I'm linking stuff about Bumgarner, I guess I should link something I wrote about Bumgarner. I basically just said that Bumgarner's against-the-grain strategy against right handers has been a potential cause of his improving platoon splits.

So here's your overall summary. Bumgarner will throw his fastball up. He will throw his cutter away, most likely. He will bury his curve. Everything hinges on the fastball, and it's a good one. The Royals are an aggressive team, and they'll look for his fastball. Bumgarner eliminates lefties like whoa, so Moustakas and Gordon face rough odds to make an impact, especially since Moustakas struggles with high pitches anyway. The Royals have to hope for predicting the fastball correctly or Bumgarner making a mistake with his cutter/slider thing. Bumgarner, despite pitching in a park where it is difficult to hit home runs, does have a noticeable 10% HR/FB. He can be prone to the long ball. He gave up 2 home runs against St Louis in his most recent start.

The Royals can do this.