Starting pitcher: Madison Bumgarner
At no point in the 2010s would San Francisco Giants icon Madison Bumgarner have been the first choice for best pitcher in baseball, let alone his own division. The left-hander’s career primarily spans the 2010s, with only four games at the end of the 2009 season. What a decade it was for Bumgarner and the Giants.
No one will make the claim that Bumgarner is not one of the top starters in the league. He is 119-92 for his career with a 3.13 ERA, four All-Star selections and two top-five finishes in the NL Cy Young vote. Those numbers are very good, but they do pale in comparison to other pitchers who could have been given this slot.
For Bumgarner, it all comes down to the playoff heroics. There is no way to tell the story of baseball in the 2010s without including Madison Bumgarner and his performances in the postseason. The Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014, with Bumgarner leading the way in each run.
In four trips to the postseason in his career, Bumgarner is 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA. He has also thrown three complete game shutouts, including two utterly dominant starts in the Wild Card Game in 2014 and 2016. Bumgarner is also the best to ever do it in the World Series in the modern era. He has pitched 36 innings in the Fall Classic and has given up a grand total of 14 hits and one run. That’s a 0.25 ERA on the biggest stage. It doesn’t get better than that, and it probably never will.