Goodbye to Bumgarner, hello to Wellemeyer

Andrew Baggarly with some news we've been expecting:

    Top prospect Madison Bumgarner has been optioned to AAA Fresno, along with RHP Joe Martinez.

    Bumgarner entered as the top candidate to open as the No. 5 starter, but he had an erratic spring and struggled to top 89 mph. Martinez was set back by elbow inflammation but has thrown twice off a mound and seems to be OK.

    It’s between Todd Wellemeyer and Kevin Pucetas for the last rotation spot now, although Wellemeyer sure looks to be the guy.

Wellemeyer's run of success as a starter in the majors was relatively brief, and came when he was both healthy and taking the regular advice of Dave Duncan. Pucetas, 25, just barely qualifies as a fringe prospect after a so-so 2009 in the Pacific Coast League. Martinez is two years older than Pucetas and has 65 innings above Class AA in his ledger.

Tell me again why teams choose a No. 5 starter rather than some sort of committee?

Meanwhile, Bumgarner's star continues to fall. He's been throwing in the high 80s since last summer, and if he's throwing in the high 80s, he simply isn't a top prospect anymore. If he throws strikes and keeps the ball down, he might be able to hold down a slot in the rotation someday. But we'll never see the ace that was advertised not so long ago.