What Are Tim Lincecum’s Hall of Fame Chances?
Last year, a friend asked me what I thought about Tim Lincecum‘s Hall of Fame chances and how many games Lincecum would need to win to have a legitimate shot at future Hall of Fame election. Here are my thoughts on the subject.
Clearly, Big Time Timmy Jim’s current Hall of Fame credentials are two Cy Young Awards, two World Series championships and the no-hitter he threw last year. Those are some pretty major accomplishments for any pitcher hoping to one day make the Hall of Fame.
However, Lincecum hasn’t done much else to boost a future Hall of Fame candidacy. He’s never won 20 games in a season, and he’s led his league (the NL) in only four major statistical categories through his first seven seasons, winning percentage in 2008 and strikeouts in 2008 through 2010.
As for how many career wins Timmy needs to have a real shot at election, I think the magic number is at least 190. There are already a number of Hall of Fame pitchers with fewer than 200 career wins, and with more wins being transferred from starters to relief pitchers in today’s game (and little likelihood that this trend will change), 190 wins would probably be enough for a pitcher with Lincecum’s highs listed above. For example, there’s no doubt in my mind that both Roy Halladay and Pedro Martinez will eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame even though neither finished with much more than 200 career wins.
The problem for Lincecum right now is that he doesn’t look like a pitcher who will reach 190 wins. He currently has a career record of 90-71, less than half of the total I think he needs, and he hasn’t been a good starter since 2011. He’s going to need a return at least to the pitcher he was in 2010 and 2011 and maintain that level of performance for at least five seasons if he’s going to have any chance of getting enough career wins.
Right now, there’s a pervading sense of Timmy being a disappointment, insofar as his career got off to this incredible start but he’s gotten steadily worse in two year increments. He’s going to need a sustained resurgence to make future Hall of Fame voters forget that sense that he hasn’t lived up to his enormous potential.