Tim Lincecum Is Healthy Again, But His Stuff Doesn’t Seem to Have Improved
I’ve been reading about Tim Lincecum‘s “showcase” today, and I’m just not as impressed as some of the sports writers seem to be. Instead, it sounds like after all the time spent getting his hips fixed and oh so slow process of getting himself to full health, he’s got the same stuff that made him at best a mediocre fourth or strong fifth starter before he got hurt.
Tim threw two sessions, the first 20 pitches, the second 21 pitches. His fastball was consistently in the 88-91 mph range and reportedly “touched” 92 mph, meaning, I assume, that one or two of his fastballs hit that speed. Not impressive. A fastball consistently in the 88 to 91 mph range isn’t going to cut it unless Lincecum’s command improves significantly over where it was the three and half seasons before he got hurt.
His curve ball and his slider reportedly looked good, but his change up didn’t, and there were mixed opinions as to the quality of his command. Grant Bisbee over at the McCovey Chronicles does a nice job of providing a lot of video footage so you can see for yourself how Lincecum looked.
The consensus seems to be that Lincecum will certainly get a major league deal, particularly in light of his proven ability to pitch in terms of the mental aspects of the occupation. However, my distillation of what I read is that the best role for Tim is probably something similar to that of Yusmeiro Petit — long relief and spot starting.
That said, there have to be teams that need a better fourth or fifth starter than what they have now, including most particularly the Giants, where Jake Peavy and Matt Cain have been absolutely brutal, with just two quality starts in 12 starts and three times that many absolute blastings.