Key Stats: Tim Lincecum finished with 265 strikeouts and 10.5 K/9 innings. He actually got better as the season progressed with strikeouts as his rate moved above 12 K/9 innings in the second half. Essentially what he brings in strikeouts is the same thing that Jose Reyes brings to stolen bases. There is still a need to draft more pitchers with strikeouts, but the Derek Lowe, Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey types (great WHIP, low Ks) are easier to take with Lincecum anchoring a rotation.
Skeptics Say: Nobody from the Giants offense or bullpen was listed on this countdown for a reason. Lincecum threw 227 innings which was 49.2 inning more than he registered between AAA and the Giants in 2007. In three consecutive meaningless starts in September, Lincecum threw 126, 138, and 118 pitches. The risk for injury is far greater with him than players like Evan Longoria or Dustin Pedroia who are ranked slightly below him.
Peer Comparison: The biggest knock on Lincecum aside from the injury risk is that he will go under last season’s 18 win total. I think it will slide no lower than 15. Below I listed the number of quality starts that resulted in either a no decision or loss from the best pitchers and wins leaders from 2008.
Johan Santana, Matt Cain 14
Cole Hamels, Jake Peavy 11Lincecum, Ted Lilly 9
C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, Ryan Dempster 8
Dan Haren 7
Roy Halladay, Edinson Volquez, Roy Oswalt 6
Cliff Lee, Chad Billingsley, Gavin Floyd, Jon Lester 5
Daisuke Matsuzaka 3
Lincecum wasn’t as “lucky” as it appears. It just so happens that the two guys he gets most frequently compared to (Johan and Cain) were terribly unlucky.
Team Outlook: So given that the same cast is back this season for San Francisco, it’s likely that Lincecum will have another 9 or 10 quality starts go to waste. Given that he could be better and that Bruce Bochy isn’t afraid to ignore pitch counts, 18 wins can happen again.
What They’re Saying: MLB.com: #3 Starting Pitcher and #32 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #3 Starting Pitcher and #15 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: ; Fox Sports: #2 Starting Pitcher; ESPN: #2 Starting Pitcher; Yahoo: #2 Starting Pitcher and #20 Overall
Projection: Opponents hit .200 off Pedro Martinez in 1999 when he was the best overall player in fantasy baseball. Opponents hit .193 in the second half of Lincecum last season.
17 wins 2.48 ERA 1.13 WHIP 275K in 235 innings
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