Madison Bumgarner Could Bat Clean-Up for the San Diego Padres

Bumgarner won yet another game with his bat Sunday, continuing a run of dominance at the plate that exceeds the exploits of a division rival.

At this point in his career, it's admittedly a bit boring to talk about how dope Madison Bumgarner is as a pitcher. He almost single-handedly won a World Series a few years ago, and his career ERA is below 3.00. Yada, yada, yada. He's good. We get it.

But his abilities as a hitter? Those will never get old.

It's a whole lot easier to swallow the whole "pitcher wins" statistic when the pitcher legitimately has to do everything himself. That was Bumgarner on Sunday, driving home the only run of the game as the San Francisco Giants defeated the mighty Chicago Cubs, 1-0. The win gave the Giants a series victory, and it was their 10th win in the past 11 games.

It might not have happened without the bad man with the ball-crushing plan.

Driving in the only run in a game you win obviously isn't a common feat, as Bumgarner became only the second pitcher to do so this year. The other? That would be his fellow lefty down south, Clayton Kershaw.

Now, you may think that this would put MadBum and Kershaw on equal footing when it comes to their stick skills. That would be correct if Bumgarner hadn't done his old friend so dirty earlier in the year.

Bumgarner is one of only 18 players with multiple career dingers off of Kershaw. Kershaw is 3-for-20 with no long balls, no walks, and 8 strikeouts when facing Bumgarner. I think we know who wins this contest.

Kershaw shouldn't feel bad for falling short against a guy like Bumgarner, though. Most pitchers do, and Bumgarner's feats actually exceed those of some entire teams.

Since the start of the 2014 season, Bumgarner has recorded 187 plate appearances in total. He has turned that into a .237/.270/.444 slash with a 28.8% hard-hit rate and 25.6% home run to fly-ball ratio. If we were to compare him to all 30 MLB teams over that same span, here's how he'd rank in some of those categories.

Category Slugging Percentage Hard-Hit Rate Soft-Hit Rate HR/FB Ratio
Bumgarner's Rank 1st 20th 22nd 1st

When you're excelling in categories such as slugging percentage -- which take his 36.4% strikeout rate into account -- you know you're doing something right. And all of this nastiness from Bumgarner should get the wheels turning for another division rival once you see how they compare to his exploits.

The table below looks again at this three-season span of Bumgarner's domination at the plate and measures it head-to-head with the San Diego Padres' offense over that time. You can choose one or the other; which side you got?

Hitter Average On-Base Slugging wOBA
Madison Bumgarner 0.237 0.270 0.444 0.309
San Diego Padres 0.233 0.294 0.362 0.289

I don't know about y'all, but I'm taking Bumgarner 10 times out of 10 when Alexei Ramirez is the alternative.

Maybe it isn't fair, though, to compare Bumgarner to the Padres' offense as a whole. Playing at Petco Park is a bit of a buzzkill, and that would include the hitting stats of their mere-mortal pitchers. Instead, let's put Bumgarner up against their clean-up hitters. Surely, that'll swing things in the Padres' favor, right?

Hitter Average On-Base Slugging wOBA
Madison Bumgarner 0.237 0.270 0.444 0.309
Padres' Clean-Up Hitters 0.225 0.301 0.403 0.307

You can beat 'em, MadBum, but you ain't gotta kill 'em. Show some mercy, home slice.

With this, we come to a proposition. When Bumgarner isn't pitching for the Giants, he should be allowed to bat clean-up for the Padres. This way, the Padres get an improvement in the middle of their order, and the world gets to marvel at Bumgarner's illitude more than just once every five days. Everybody wins.

Do the right thing, Giants. Free Bumgarner's bat from its bench-riding prison and let it frolick in an environment desperate for anything rivaling competence. Give the people what they want, which is to see this bad mamma jamma come to the dish and do his thang as often as humanly possible.