CC vs. Lincecum, who’s the pick?

by mrCane and notebook guy
mrCane: Why I’ll take Tim Lincecum:  Let me start by saying there is a reason why we draft hitters before pitchers, because they are sure bets.  With that being said Tim Lincecum should be the top pitcher taken in this years draft, partly because Johan has some elbow trouble, but mostly because he is the best pitcher available, more so than CC Sabathia.  I know what your saying, he’s small, he’ll breakdown….well Pedro was small too.  At the age of 24 Pedro’s numbers were 3.70ERA  1.20WHIP  222K   216IP
…..if your paying attention Lincecums were much better at 2.62 ERA  265K  1.17 WHIP 227IP.  Now if Lincecum follows in Pedro’s footsteps this upcoming year will be historic because Martinez had a ridiculous ERA of 1.90 at the age of 25!
Why do I compare Lincecum to Pedro?  For obvious reason’s, they are built more like chess players instead of baseball players.  Both are listed at a very generous 5’11” and neither top 190lbs.  Right now Tim Lincecum has a 97mph fastball, and that’s not even his best pitch. He uses one of the most devastating curves in the game to give opposing batters no chance, evident by his 265K.  Size is not a problem!
Last year Lincecum had a better ERA, more strike outs, better k/9 ratio and a Quality Start % of 79 compared to CC’s 71%, threw 200 less pitches leaving the only slight ( no pun intended) against Timmy; his frame.  Lets not get too crazy and compare him to a future hall of famer but lets no write him off because he doesn’t way 290lbs(not a typo).  How can we decline Lincecum the honor of #1 rated pitcher because he’s too small but Sabathia doesn’t get the same ridicule with his over indulgence of nutrients?  I’ll take the next best thing as Sabathia crumbles (much like in the playoffs, 7.92 career ERA!) in the New York pressure cooker while Lincecum coasts in the NL West.
notebookguy: Why I take CC: CC Sabathia is now the number 1 pitcher in fantasy baseball due to Johan Santana’s elbow injury.  In CC’s 8 seasons, hard to believe considering he won’t be 29 until the end of July, he has averaged 32 starts a year, making 30+ starts every year but one, in which he made 28 starts.  Why is this important?  Outside of the closer position, starting pitching is the most volatile spot on your fantasy baseball team, and this guy is as sure a thing to be out there every 5th day as they come.  It’s not just his reliability that makes him so great, he’s also got the numbers to back it up.  A 3 year average of 32 starts, 16 W, 211 K, 3.03 ERA, and a 1.14 WHIP shows that he helps immensely in all 4 starting pitching categories.  His track record is impeccable, he’s still in his prime, and he pitches for a very good team in a park that favors lefthanded pitchers.  What more do you need?
The argument against Lincecum is simple, no track record.  His numbers were the best in the game last year, there is no arguing that, but he jumped 80 innings over his previous career high, never a good sign for a 24 year old in his first major league season.  There is no telling how the extensive work load of last season will effect him but looking at pitchers with similar jumps in their workloads from previous seasons is not encouraging.  His size is also a concern.  He is a little guy with a violent windup, not usually a good combo for longevity.  He also has a horrendous offensive team supporting him, Bengie Molina hitting cleanup?  I need a little more offensive support than that for my ace.
I’ve heard the comparisons to Pedro Martinez and to me, that’s just foolish.  Pedro Martinez is the best pitcher I’ve ever seen in my 20 odd years of watching baseball.  He was Sandy Koufax in the STEROIDS era.  When guys were hitting 60+ HR’s Pedro had an ERA under 2.  He struck out 300 guys a year.  Tim Lincecum has had one very good season and his numbers didn’t sniff what Pedro did in his prime.  Don’t believe the hype, go safe with your ace, and take the Big Man in the Bronx.
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9 Comments

Filed under Draft Position

9 responses to “CC vs. Lincecum, who’s the pick?

  1. nichols33

    I got to go with notebookguy on this one. CC is the safer pick, and when you are picking a pitcher that high in the draft (if you are going to get either of them it has to be early), then you have to play it safe.
    I think the teams they play on has to play a big factor in the decision as well, especially in points leagues where a win is worth 10 points. Sabathia’s run support should far exceed the run support that Lincecum will get from Rowand, Molina, Winn, Renteria and company.

  2. notebookguy

    Wow. You really wanna’ compare Pedro Martinez, the greatest pitcher of the last 20 or 30 years, to 1 year of “Tiny” Tim Lincecum? If we look at the numbers it’s gonna’ get ugly… So let’s do it! Pedro Martinez…
    1999: 23 W, 313 K, 2.07 ERA, and a 0.92 WHIP.
    2000: 18 W, 284 K, 1.74 ERA, and a 0.74 WHIP.
    1997: 17 W, 305 K, 1.90 ERA, and a 0.93 WHIP.
    2002: 20 W, 239 K, 2.26 ERA, and a 0.92 WHIP.
    1998: 19 W, 251 K, 2.89 ERA, and a 1.09 WHIP.

    Lincecum 2008: 18 W, 265 K, 2.62 ERA, and a 1.17 WHIP.
    That does not crack Pedro’s top 4 years and Pedro’s 5th year, 1998, is similar to Lincecum’s 2008. The other 4 years are not even close. The ERA’s and WHIP’s posted by Pedro in those years are mind boggling, once in an era numbers, you can’t predict that kind of production off of one year because they are both little guys, that’s an absurd premise. This does not even consider Pedro’s years over 300 K’s, another number that we aren’t likely to see again any time soon.
    I thought you bit off more than you could chew trying to compare him to CC, don’t even suggest Pedro. Pedro was playing a different game than everyone else when he was on the mound, Lincecum’s just, potentially, a very good pitcher.

  3. tallkid1

    Having either of these guys is a win-win. Personally I take the longer track record in CC right now. If CC was 2-3 years older I think this comparison would be much tougher. With that said I think the big question is what offensive player are you leaving off the board to select one of these guys so early?

  4. mrcane

    The comparison to Pedro wasn’t comparing talent as is was more for comparing body size. And if we use body size to slight Lincecum them CC has to be in the discussion because of the other end of the spectrum. CC has never pitched in a place like NY and players including the likes of Randy Johnson can crumble under the pressure. Take into account the past two years he has pitched deep into the post season and last year the Brewers flat out abused him. Everyone talks about Zambrano breaking down, why does CC get a pass?
    In the AL East CC will have an ERA over 3, with less K’s (no pitcher to pitch to), but should get more wins. The whip could be around the same. If we’re talking 5×5 thats definately Tiny Tim and even in a points I’m going Lincecum because wins are a category far too hard to gauge.

  5. notebookguy

    Randy Johnson was 40 years old with a bad back, CC is 28 in the prime of his career with no health problems, another bad comparison. CC hasn’t pitched well in the postseason, that I’ll give ya’, but I don’t see NY scaring the 6’8″ 300 pounder.
    Yes his workload was massive last year but he consistently throws 200+ innings, it wasn’t that great a spike over the norm, unlike Lincecum who jumped his highest season total of innings pitched by 80 innings. You’re talking about 30+ starts a year, horse, CC being a burnout candidate? Lincecum’s the one to be wary of.

  6. According to baseball-reference.com, similar pitchers at Lincecum’s age are Luis Tiant, Lynn McGlothen, Jered Weaver and Jim Bouton. A hit-or-miss list at best. He’s also on the “compare” list with Mark Fidrych. Hmmm.

    The same list for CC: Dave McNally, Greg Maddux, Steve Carlton, Eckersley, Milt Pappas and Carols Zambrano. Not so many misses there, but that’s experience talking. Lincecum may be on that list when he’s 28.

    That said, I like Lincecum and bristle at the talk of size being a determinant of durability.
    If I was building a ballclub I’d take Lincecum, but if I was drafting a fantasy team, CC is the guy behind that lineup.

    If Lincecum has another great year he has earned the top spot, but for now I’ll take experience.

  7. dtb23

    Tough call, but if it is a keeper league I am going with Lincecum. He is younger and he gets the lion share of his starts against pathetic line-ups (compared to the AL East teams).

    Obviously Sabathia will have better run support, that is a given. However, there is a chance that CC may not be able to handle the pressure of playing in NY. He will be crucified if he posts an 8-8 record going into all star weekend, like he did in ’08.

  8. mrcane

    Bottom line is both guys can pitch and if the deciding factors come down to mental vs physical I’m taking the guy (Lincecum) who will have a distinct advantage in San Fran. He does not have to justify a 150million dollar contract, sky high expectations and the pressure cooker of NY.

    Oh and the year before Johnson went to NY he had a line of 2.60 ERA 245IP 290 K’s. His era jumped to 3.79 and then 5.00 pitching over 200 IP in both seasons while in NY. It was well documented he didn’t like NY. This is a guy who had success in the post season and still wasn’t able to sustain success in the Big Apple.

    Lincecum was the best pitcher in baseball last year, though it’s not a large body of success, it’s enough to justify my pick.

  9. Wow, thank you cane for being a man and not taking the trendy ESPN pick. AL is lame. Go Giants!

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