Madison Bumgarner Enjoyed a Historic Opening Day
Madison Bumgarner had a ridiculous Opening Day.
Yes, he struck out 11 batters in 7 innings without surrendering a walk, but that actually turned out to be an afterthought in the Giants' 6-5 loss to the Diamondbacks. The lefty's day on the mound was dwarfed by what he did in the batter’s box, where he hit two home runs and drew a walk.
In doing so, he became the 13th pitcher since the designated hitter rule was implemented in 1973 to homer twice in a single game. He also made a bit of Opening Day history in the process.
Madison Bumgarner – the first pitcher to hit two HRs on #OpeningDay in @MLB history. https://t.co/Ve4SCdHc7C #PitchersWhoRake pic.twitter.com/7mbFvuYSSl
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) April 2, 2017
Madison Bumgarner is the first Giants player, regardless of position, to hit multiple HR on Opening Day since Barry Bonds in 2002.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 2, 2017
His first dinger of the day came in the fifth inning with the bases empty and traveled 416 feet to give the Giants a 2-0 lead.
Bumgarner’s second blast broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh and went 422 feet.
It's special when a pitcher goes yard twice in one game, but Bumgarner’s day stands out even more for how hard he hit the ball.
Only 16 players hit 2 or more HRs 112 MPH+ last season... Madison Bumgarner did it twice in his first game 🔥🔥🔥
— Daren Willman (@darenw) April 2, 2017
His first homer of the day left the bat at 112.5 miles per hour, making it the hardest home run from a pitcher in the Statcast era. His second had an exit velocity of 112.1 mph, meaning the four hardest-hit home runs from pitchers measured by Statcast were all hit by Bumgarner.
Aside from the similar exit velocities, the two home runs were pretty distinct. The first was an absolute rope, with a launch angle of about 18 degrees. Line drives at that angle, even those hit so hard, tend not to leave the yard.
Last season, 370 balls left the bat at 112-plus mph with a launch angle of 18 degrees or less; only nine of them left the yard. Making this kind of contact is really good -- big league hitters have a .680 batting average on these balls -- but it rarely leads to home runs.
This is in stark contrast to his second long ball. The ball left the bat with a 33-degree launch angle, and balls hit like that with an exit velocity like Bumgarner’s almost always result in home runs.
In 2016, 13 balls were hit 110 mph or harder with a launch of angle between 32 and 35 degrees, and all of them left the park.
If Opening Day was any indication, we’re in for a fun season.