Before the Giants took on the Cardinals in their series finale Sunday in St. Louis, fans witnessed a power display during batting practice they're sure to remember. One of the Giants' biggest sluggers put on a show launching balls into the left field bleachers of New Busch Stadium.
Only it was starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner putting on the show instead of Buster Posey or any other of San Francisco's power bats.
There's "Big Mac Land" in the left field bleachers of the Cardinals' home stadium, representing where Mark McGwire used to launch balls. Then, there's one level above, good for the upper deck. That's Bumgarner territory.
The left-handed throwing, right-handed hitting Bumgarner crushed a ball into the upper deck during BP that was estimated at 460 feet. Palo Alto native and Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson took notice.
Pederson reached out to Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, pushing for Bumgarner to be in the Home Run Derby at this year's MLB All-Star Game. He tweeted to Crawford, "@bcraw35 bum in the homerun derby or what?" with a flexing emoji.
@bcraw35 bum in the homerun derby or what?
— Joc Pederson (@yungjoc650) June 6, 2016
As a rookie, Pederson finished second in the Home Run Derby, being bested by Todd Frazier in the final round. Pederson hit 14 bombs in his final round, while Frazier smacked one more as the time ran out.
On Monday, Crawford responded to Pederson in full support of Bumgarner stepping into the box.
@yungjoc650 he would be my pick...
— Brandon Crawford (@bcraw35) June 6, 2016
It sounds like Bumgarner is on the same page as Pederson. "I want to do it," Bumgarner said to ESPN's Buster Olney on the derby before Sunday's 6-3 loss. But, Giants manager Bruce Bochy has other thoughts.
"No, to be serious, I couldn't let him do it," Bochy said. "We couldn't let him do it."
That doesn't mean Bochy wouldn't enjoy watching his pitcher take part in a home run hitting contest. He knows his ace wouldn't lack confidence, too.
"And Bum, he's convinced he could win it," Bochy said. "I think he would wear himself down in the first round, he'd try to hit it so hard."
In 32 at-bats, Bumgarner has two home runs this season, while also going 7-2 with a 1.91 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 80 innings pitched on the mound. He has hit 13 home runs in 399 at-bats during his big league career, good for a homer every 31 at-bats.
At the time of his last home run on June 2, a two-run blast vs. the Braves in Atlanta, Bumgarner's power was in the same world as 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper and 2014 AL MVP Mike Trout. Ryan Spaeder, author of Incredible Baseball Stats, tweeted out how the trio compares with their home-run rate in their last 190 plate appearances. Each one had hit exactly 11 home runs in their last 190 plate appearances at the time.
For context, Harper hit 42 home runs last season while Trout knocked out 41 of his own.
Bumgarner is currently tied for the third most home runs in Giants history by a pitcher. Johnny Antonelli, who spent four seasons with the franchise in New York and three in San Francisco, hit 15 homers in his 12-year career.
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