Tim Lincecum –Prognostication Update

This is a
follow up on a piece I did prior to Lincecum being called up where I discussed erroneous
early assumptions on my part, his mechanics, and took a look to the future. At
one point I made reference to discussions on Lincecum with three professionals;
one of whom I made the reference “grinned like the
cat that ate the canary, hinted, but refused to share.” This was none other
than Will Carroll, who I’ve had dialogue with since he was exclusively with
Baseball Prospectus, me with Rotowire; the two baseball news organizations of
differing roots having had a relationship for years. At the time of our correspondence
Will had a contractual obligation to not say anything, a video piece for
MLB.com pending.


The piece is now out, found here, and discusses many of the issues
I touched upon, but going well beyond my little Blog entry. I love this work
for its simplicity; Will has taken the high-end topic and broken it down visually,
making it clear to every level of viewer. I personally like the time spent on
the hip turn as I’ve often drawn analogies to golf for generating force through
the turn, but mainly in reference to hitting; Lincecum’s extreme use a rarity
in a major league pitcher. The one problem area Will’s video illustrates clearly
is the strain on both the back and abdomen; my concern probably more to the
oblique muscles as the potential injury area short term.


My comparison to Sandy Koufax was also done better in the video,
later, Mr. Carroll threw a John Smoltz comp at me for a potential long term
career discussion. That’s a good topic for a later date, although it belongs in
an article more than a Blog post; mine are already too long. For now I’ll note
Smoltz as possibly the National League strikeout King in 2007 – the old guy
versus the young in Jake Peavy – but should yield the title to Lincecum in 2008
with the Big Unit finally showing his age and unlikely to make 34 starts a
season again. Despite this lofty view of his talent, Lincecum is unlikely to
win an ERA title or a CY Young award in the near future, the control issue at the
forefront of this projection. I’m still uncertain what the long-term future
holds; the injury issue still present in my mind, believing he won’t be able to
last as a starter into his 30s without re-inventing his mechanics to put a
little less stress on the right side of his trunk. For now, just enjoy the
ride, for he is the most exciting young pitcher to come up this decade, even if
he’s ultimately not the best. And I’m not known for tossing about this type of
accolade lightly.


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