Monday, February 5, 2007

Tim Lincecum

Why are my first posts both guys where I feel like I'm spelling their names wrong every time I type them? Tim Lincecum seems to be getting a lot of hype as a top pitching prospect. The general concensus seems to be that he's got a shot at making the majors out of Spring Training, and that if he doesn't he'll be there by June. That may be, but I'm not really buying the fact that he's ready for prime time. Here are his stats:

Year Team League Age Level IP BB K
2004 Washington NCAA 20 NCAA 112.1 82 161
2005 Washington NCAA 21 NCAA 104.1 71 131
2006 Washington NCAA 22 NCAA 125.1 63 199
2006 Salem-Kzr Nwest 22 A- 4.0 0 10
2006 San Jose Calif 22 A+ 27.2 12 48

I see a guy with a great strikeout rate, but who has had some control problems even against pretty weak competition. Other than his 4 innings at low A ball, he's had a high walk rate everywhere he's been, and in the high minors and the majors I expect this to get a LOT worse. If he sees the majors in 2007, I would keep my distance...I'm expecting a ton of walks...maybe close to one per inning.


David said...

his strikeout rate is outstanding and he was tossing shutouts just dominating last season, seems that the hype is real for a reason.

Alex said...

Strikeout rate was outstanding, but that was against much lesser competition. In the majors I expect that to drop and the walk rate to go way up. Long term I think he's a high potential prospect, but I wouldn't want him on my team (in a non-keeper league) to start the season.

cirqular said...

Alex, looking forward to your blog in the MLB2007 season.

Agreed, Lincecum's BB/IP ratio is higher than similarly hyped pitchers like Liriano, Hamels, Verlander before they made the majors.

I would expect him to struggle initially and the Giants defensively won't be helping him much either.

At most, a late round flyer at this point, although I like him further down the line.

SharksRog said...

Why do you think Tim's walk rate will be anywhere near one per inning? Since putting things together at Harwick in the Cape Cod League (11 walks in 39 innings), Tim has improved his walk rate in his junior year at the University of Washington and improved it further in the minors.

In Tim's final start of 2006, in San Jose's Cal League playoff opener, he walked only one in seven innings -- and would walked none had his catcher caught the third strike that would have resulted in the third out of the inning. Lincecum walked the next hitter, then ended the inning with another strikeout (on a 96 mph fastball).

So far this spring Tim has walked none in his five innings, going to three balls only twice and two balls only two other times. He has thrown 51 strikes on his 73 pitches.

Dominating pitchers such as Tim and Kerry Wood usually see both their strikeouts and walks decline at the major-league level, since major-league hitters put the ball in play more often. The more balls that are put in play, the less deep counts go, reducing both strikeouts and thankfully walks.

So what is it, Alex, that leads you to believe that Tim would walk more major-league batters than he walked in college, where hitters had a hard time putting their bat on his pitches?