Madison Bumgarner was originally signed to a 5-year, $85MM contract with the Diamondbacks over the winter to anchor a young rotation. In 2020, he has not been the same pitcher as the team has gone 0-4 in his starts and Bumgarner has seen his four-seam fastball velocity drop almost 4 MPH relative to 2019. In addition to the velocity drop, he’s been leaving a lot of pitches up and out over the plate and has yielded 7 homers in 17 1⁄3 innings on the season with six of them coming in his last two starts.
After giving up 6 runs in 2 innings against San Diego, manager Torey Lovullo announced to the media that Bumgarner had been dealing with back spasms and was the reason for removing him from this start.
Lovullo says Madison Bumgarner will be heading back to Arizona to be looked at by team doctors. Not slated to pitch this next series in Colorado— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) August 9, 2020
In his career, he had never hit below 88.9 MPH on his average fastball velocity, until his four starts in 2020. Even going back to Spring Training, Bumgarner was hitting 90+ with regularity in his one Cactus League start. The combination of a sudden drop-off in both velocity and location has the team wondering if there are any physical ailments in the arm, not just his back. Hopefully they are able to figure out the extent of any potential damage not only for his back, but also the left arm and shoulder. Bumgarner is due $79MM over the final four years of the deal, so hopefully they get to the bottom of the issue and fix it.