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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Does Lincecum Have A Future In The Bullpen? | FanGraphs Baseball

The Pen is Mightier…“the question is, does it work?”

A presumably front-running Giants team should have little trouble finding 70 to 80 games — Hernandez appeared in 80 — for Lincecum to work the same role he’s filled so well in the 2012 playoffs. The free agent pitching market is flush with mid-tier options to fill the rotation behind Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito; in addition, prospect Erik Surkamp will likely return from Tommy John surgery at some point in the first half of the season.

In the end, the decision will come down to how the Giants staff, both managerial and training, decides he will be able to handle the starting role. Even with the leveraged benefits of Lincecum in the fireman role, Tim Lincecum is most valuable as a successful starting pitcher.

But if something mechanical or physical points toward Lincecum’s issues as a starter repeating themselves in 2012, the Giants have another enticing option: Tim Lincecum, bullpen dynamo, just as he’s shown throughout the postseason.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2012 at 02:35 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, tim lincecum

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4283160)
And maybe Pablo Sandoval will hit 480 home runs!
   2. Mefisto Posted: October 25, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4283180)
Why would he sit out the other two games?
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4283194)
Re-posted from the other thread, but what the hell.

I haven't watched Lincecum pitch much but it struck me how much he relied on his slider last night (I presume it was a slider) that comes in at 84mph.

And I just read James's comments from a couple days ago, where he touches on this:


I doubt that [Lincecum] is done. He made 33 starts and struck out more than a batter an inning. I don't see a breakdown; he just didn't have the command and control needed to succeed. He may need to re-tool his pitch selection, probably has some mechanical issues. He threw 52% fastballs this year, which is very, very low. In 2009 he threw 5% sliders; this year it was 17%. His slider isn't that good, frankly, that he should be throwing it more than once an inning. And, because the fast ball is the easiest pitch to control, throwing 48% off-speed stuff would cause command and control issues for almost any pitcher, I would think.

It's not unlike Zito, honestly. Zito in 2002 had that tremendous curve ball, and in 2010-2011 he had basically stopped throwing it, which I never understood. You would ask people what was going on with that, and we would hear that it was some physical issue that "he just can't get on top of his curve ball the way he used to." There is a lot in baseball that I don't understand, and that's on the list. This seems like a similar problem: you've got a former Cy Young winner who is not throwing his best pitches, and no one can really explain why in terms that make any sense.

   4. zenbitz Posted: October 25, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4283221)

Are they going to go with a 4 man rotation, too? I mean, who takes his spot in the rotation? I guess Johnathan Sanchez is a free agent...

Remember, they are still paying Timmy $20M next year. And the Giants' ownership has become quite tight-fisted with the FA dough.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4283373)
I can't imagine Lincecum agreeing to go the pen entering a FA year, with a $20M salary. Even if he becomes an elite closer, he gets Papelbon money (4/50). If he bounces back as a SP, he's looking at 6/120+.

Lincecum would have to stink for two more years before making him a RP makes sense. he still struck out 9/G, and his LOB% and HR/FB% were unsustainably bad.
   6. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4283377)
Agree with Snapper.
   7. calhounite Posted: October 25, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4283400)
Hitters have wised up to Lincecum. Just stand there at the plate awhile. Doesn't matter if throws a couple strikes. Views an 0-2 count like a dentist views rotten teeth. Needs filling. Foul off a few and draw the walk. Or select one of the grooved pitches when Linc gets behind and smack the ever loving crap out of it. This approach does maintain a high out ratio of strikeouts, which gives the illusion that Linc mostly has his regular stuff and is just unlucky. He does mostly have his regular stuff. But it ain't bad luck. The book's out.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2012 at 09:37 PM (#4283670)
This approach does maintain a high out ratio of strikeouts, which gives the illusion that Linc mostly has his regular stuff and is just unlucky. He does mostly have his regular stuff. But it ain't bad luck. The book's out.

Why do you dismiss the probability of Lincecum adjusting?

If he mostly has his stuff, he'll be fine.
   9. Bourbon Samurai is disturbed by bagel developments Posted: October 25, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4283714)
A top starter who is struggling could excel in the bullpen? Why that's the craziest idea I've ever heard!

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