Bay Area Sports: Ranking the Top 30 Players

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Sep 25, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) talks with manager Bruce Bochy (15) prior to the start of their MLB baseball game with the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

#3 – Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants

In the postseason, when the stakes are at their highest, things are supposed to get more difficult for a baseball player. No one ever told that to Madison Bumgarner. The Giants’ burly left-hander has established himself as one of the best postseason pitchers baseball has ever seen, and he’s still only 25 years old.

In three different World Series, Bumgarner has pitched in five games, starting four of them. He’s gone 36 innings, allowed just 14 hits, and surrendered one run. His 0.25 ERA is the lowest of all-time in World Series history, for pitchers who have thrown a minimum of 25 innings.

In the 2014 postseason, Bumgarner carried the Giants through, giving a historic performance. In seven games and six starts, Bumgarner threw 52.2 innings (a record for a single postseason), allowed six runs for an ERA under one. He struck out 43 batters, compared to just six walks. In the World Series, he won two starts and recorded a five-inning save in the decisive game seven.

He doesn’t just limit his greatness to the postseason either. He’s one of four pitchers in baseball to have posted an ERA under three in each of the past three seasons, along with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and David Price. As former aces like Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum have fallen on tough times, Bumgarner has taken his game to a new level. He’s given the Giants a legitimate ace once again.

And don’t forget, he’s still 25. There’s room for improvement, which is pretty scary.

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