Time to Freak Out Over Lincecum?
Tim Lincecum was one of the top five starting pitchers drafted on average in Yahoo! leagues. But after ten starts, the Freak’s 6.41 ERA and 1.61 WHIP rank him close to last in both categories among starters with 45 innings pitched. Only Clay Buchholz is worse than Lincecum in both ERA and WHIP. It’s not just a couple of awful outings inflating Lincecum’s numbers – he has a grand total of one quality start. But Lincecum is apparently healthy (aside from a blister issue) so the best option for owners probably remains hoping he will snap out of it.
It’s not as if all the news on Lincecum is bad. His K/9 rate is actually up from last year, from 9.1 to 9.8. Lincecum had a 9.8 K/9 for all of 2010 and it led the league. So even though Lincecum’s velocity is down, it’s not stopping him from getting strikeouts.
Lincecum only has two wins, but pitching for the punchless Giants, he doesn’t get a lot of wins anyway. In 2011, despite his otherwise excellent stats, Lincecum only had 13 wins.
Lincecum’s 2012 BABIP is .344 – his career mark is .296.
But Lincecum’s BB/9 has risen to 4.9 (it was 3.6 in 2011).
While 10 starts is almost a third of a season, Lincecum still has time to end up with a decent season if he can turn it around soon. Lincecum has averaged 33 starts in his four full seasons. Assuming Lincecum averages 6 2/3 IP per start (his career average is 6.55), he will pitch 153 1/3 more innings this season. If Lincecum gives up 39 ER and 185 hits and walks over those 153 1/3 IP, he will have numbers the rest of the way (2.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) that will be along the lines of how he did in the second half of 2011 (2.31 ERA, 1.22 WHIP). Lincecum would then finish 2012 with a 3.35 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.
While all of this is theoretical, the point is that if Lincecum starts performing as he has in the past, he can still wind up with numbers that, while not befitting his draft status, would at least be in line with his 2010 numbers (3.43 ERA, 1.27 WHIP).
Speaking of 2010, Lincecum endured an August that was even worse than either of his two lousy 2012 months. Lincecum had a 7.82 ERA and 1.82 WHIP.
But in September 2010, Lincecum went 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 52 K in 41 2/3 IP. Lincecum then led the Giants to the world championship with a 4-1 record, 2.43 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 43 K in 37 IP.
As long as Lincecum is not hurt, he has shown that he can make a dramatic rebound from pitching poorly. With other owners unlikely to offer anything approaching fair value in a trade, continuing to wait for that rebound probably remains the best option for frustrated Lincecum owners.
Photo by SD Dirk.
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