OK, gotta be honest here. I have no idea how the heck I'm going to do this one. 10+ IP in the majors is way too little to evaluate a pitcher. And reading reports on him are so conflicted. Then there is velocity up and down. Etc. etc.
So how can I turn this down?
I've read a lot about him being fastball, slider, change. Sorry, I don't get that. You can't say his fastball is below 3/4 slot and yet call that a slider, it's a curve. Just account for arm angle. Anyways ...
Fastball - 86 - 92. It's not like he labours to bring the velocity up. Or that he loses location once it's at 92. It seems that he cuts a few off (what I mean is he cuts off the finish of the pitch). And it seems location is more important to him than velocity. He really seems to chew up LH hitters.
Curve - I like the fact he locates it often enough for strikes. It's not a total K pitch. Sure. Hammer Curves get more swings and misses. But this gets quite a few called strikes which is a very under-rated quality.
I've read from Keith Law (ESPN) that his fastball is below 3/4 and easily picked up. I have to disagree with that. It is below 3/4 as Mr.Law mentions. But Bumgarner does something quite unique. He pitches below 3/4 but then his hand comes over the top to finish the pitch. So while he might start with a very low armslot it ends up more traditional.
What does this do? Well, it helps get some quality movement on his curve. It helps get movement on the fastball. On top of that it helps hide his pitches. Funky deliveries like this are great. Except for what they do to the arm.
I personally have absolutely no worries about his velocity loss at the end of the season. It seemed like he was able to get the velocity when he wanted without any sacrifice. And he can add a lot of lower half strength. He is very young after all.
Prognosis - wow, I can't give the best analysis here. Maybe with another half season. What I can guess is added lower body strength and very deceptive movement giving Bumgarner a very solid season. Why can't he have 2-3 excellent seasons before disappearing?
Without big improvements in either his slider/change he won't be a factor in a couple years. But with his quirky delivery, solid fastball, + location, locatable curve, I can see 2 or 3 years of All-star pitching from Bum.