July 06, 2008

Tim Lincecum Is Good

Do you remember that Tim Lincecum guy? Starting pitcher, San Francisco Giants? You know, the guy Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi tried to acquire over the winter, by offering San Fran Alex Rios? Yeah, that guy. He's, uh, doing pretty well this season.

With Lincecum's freakish delivery set to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, and rumours flying around that he's going to be the starting pitcher for the National League at the All-Star game, I thought it might be interesting to see how he's doing over in the Bay Area. Things might certainly be different in T.O. had the Lincecum/Rios trade gone through.

First of all, this post is not meant to demean Alex Rios. I heart Rios. I think he's one of baseball's best up-and-coming stars, and he's got a bright, bright future in the game. I'm more than glad we got his name on a long-term contract.

But Rios, like the rest of his Blue Jays brethren, has severely underperformed this season. His struggles have been well documented. We're 85 games into the campaign and Rios has only four home runs and 33 RsBI. I know, home runs and runs batted it aren't everything, but this was supposed to be Rios' breakout season, where he entrenched himself into baseball's upper echelon of star players. It's been extremely disappointing, as he's looked lost at the plate on too many occasions.

Want to know just how bad it has been for Rios? He's hit one more home run than Frank Thomas in a Blue Jays uniform this season.

And Frank Thomas was released on April 20th.

It simply hasn't happened for Rios this year, and I don't know why. Both his batting average (.284) and on-base percentage (.337) numbers are down from '06 and '07, and he's struck out 77 times already this season, most on the team by a comfortable margin. While he has stolen an impressive 21 bases, at the end of the day his .734 OPS simply isn't cutting it. Rios must improve his numbers in the second half.

As for Tim Lincecum, he's dominating the senior circuit. With all signs pointing to A.J. Burnett being traded before the July 31st trade deadline, or opting out of his contract come season's end, Timothy LeRoy Lincecum would look awfully, awfully, good in a Blue Jays uniform right now, and in the years to come. Oh, what might have been.

In only his second year in the big leagues, Lincecum is making Giants general manager Brian Sabean look like a smart man for holding on to him. And this is the same Sabean who threw a ton of money at Barry Zito. Barry fucking Zito.

Here are Lincecum's 2008 stats:

W-L: 10-1
Innings pitched: 115.2
ERA: 2.49
WHIP: 1.24
Strikeouts: 122
Walks: 44
Opponents batting average: .236

The Ks really stand out. For a scrawny kid with a strange delivery, Lincecum can throw some serious heat.

After his rookie campaign in which he showed so much promise, Lincecum is proving he's the real deal. You've simply got to tip your cap to Sabean and the Giants. They thought long and hard over the Rios deal, but in the end, it looks like they made the right decision.

I leave you with a link to Tom Verducci's excellent Sports Illustrated piece on "The Freak." Verducci is good people. Check out the layout.


Frost said...

I was so excited when I heard Alex Rios was going to be traded for Lincecum, it's a shape Sabean wised up and kept him. To be a tad critical though, dominating the Senior circuit (especially in the Awful NL West) is not the same as dominating the hitting rich American League. Still, what a rotation that would have been.