According to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, there have been 30 seasons since 1901 in which a pitcher 25 or younger had over 250 strikeouts, and Lincecum has two of them. According to Lame-Joke-Reference’s Tired Joke Index, only two other athletes have come close to the number of marijuana-related jokes since 1901. By all measures, Lincecum is an absolute gift.
He’ll always have to ignore the doubters, though. You know that in 2001 there were a few elated jackasses who were finally proven right about that frail, frail Pedro Martinez. Sure, it was after 1000 innings of the best baseball ever pitched, but the diminutive Pedro finally broke down. And it’s happening to Lincecum as we speak!
Well, it was good while it...wait a second, I don’t believe in that projection for a second. Yes, Lincecum’s velocity was down a little last year, which would be a pretty big concern if he didn’t continue to be the best pitcher in the National League. It’s those subtle, obscure signs that help me feel better. If hitters keep swinging, the dude can roll the ball to the plate for all I care. And the slow start this spring means as much as his Galaga scores.
This is Tim Lincecum. His bones are made of adamantium, and his hair helps ward off most lesser spells and witchcraft. His changeup is the best pitch in baseball, and his fastball still has a ton of life on it, velocity be damned. I’m not sure where that life came from, because we all know that Lincecum’s fastball has always been completely straight.
One scout thinks San Francisco No. 1 prospect Tim Lincecum should be used as a closer, but it has nothing to do with his size or mechanics. "I'm not bothered by his delivery at all, and he pitches taller because he's long and lean," said the scout. "His fastball is so straight that I think hitters will line it up after the first time through," he continued. "I know you always want 200 innings out of guys instead of 70, but as a closer he'd be so tough and he has the demeanor, and absolutely no fear."
In an alternate universe, this scout might run things. The greatest argument to make against the Large Hadron Collider is that we might find ourselves in that universe. Science is scary stuff.
Well, not all science is scary. Some projections:
ZiPS: 225 IP, 260 IP, 78 BB, 13 HR
PECOTA: 214 IP, 248 K, 68 BB, 2.94 ERA, 18 HR
CHONE: 196 IP, 224 K, 68 BB, 3.12 ERA, 12 HR
Bill James: 228 IP, 261 K, 80 BB, 2.80 ERA, 12 HR
The only one I don’t like a lot is CHONE. Last year, I played it safe. That just makes me look like a weenie.
The first time the Giants get shutout this year, we should all make a point to visit Lincecum’s BB-Ref page and stare at it for a while. We are so lucky to watch him pitch.