San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner is no stranger to participating in All-Star weekend. The 27-year-old has made the National League All-Star in each of the past three seasons. This year, however, Bumgarner has his sights set a little higher. Instead of just participating in the All-Star game, Bumgarner also wants to be in the Home Run Derby … and not as a batting practice pitcher.
Prior to Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Bumgarner told ESPN’s Buster Olney that would like to be in the Home Run Derby this season.
The video of Bumgarner blasting home runs prior to the game can be seen here.
If you watch the video, it’s tough not to come away impressed. Bumgarner belts one ball into “Big Mac Land,” which is pretty much the second deck at Busch Stadium. He then proceeds to hit one in the third deck in the same area. That’s an area most full-time hitters fail to reach.
While the prospect of a pitcher participating in the Home Run Derby sounds ridiculous, we know Bumgarner’s pop isn’t limited to just batting practice. Over the past three seasons, Bumgarner has belted 11 home runs in just 194 plate appearances. That rate puts him in pretty elite company.
As for whether it would actually happen … well … that seems unlikely. Giants manager Bruce Bochy initially seemed receptive to the idea according to Olney, but backed off once he was reminded Bumgarner would open himself up to injury and fatigue, especially if he managed to advance deep into the Derby.
That makes sense. Bumgarner certainly has impressive pop, but the Giants’ main focus is keeping him on the field for another deep playoff run. While it might be entertaining to see him eliminate one of the game’s best sluggers in the first round, we sadly have to advocate for a cautious approach in this instance.
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