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Tim Lincecum

A photo of Tim Lincecum.

Timothy LeRoy Lincecum (born June 15, 1984 in Bellevue, Washington) is a former starting pitcher. Nicknamed "The Franchise" and "The Freak",[1] Lincecum's first major league start took place on a nationwide ESPN broadcast on the evening of May 6, 2007.[2] At 5'11 tall and weighing 170 lbs, Lincecum is one of the smallest pitchers in the majors. He throws right-handed and bats left-handed.[3] Lincecum is known for his long stride, sharp mechanics, and the ability to generate high torque for optimal velocity.[4]

He has frequently been named as the top pitching prospect in the Giants organization. Lincecum's two-seam fastball can be thrown at nearly 100 mph, and he maintains a game velocity in the 93–97 mph range. He also has a curveball that is thrown at about 81 mph, with a short quick break that permits him to be a high strikeout pitcher without an excessive pitch count. Lincecum uses a changeup that he grips similar to a splitter to offset his top two pitches and keep batters off-balance and has recently added a cut fastball which breaks down and in against left-handers.[5][6]

High school and college[]

Lincecum attended Liberty Senior High School in Renton, Washington, where he played two seasons of varsity baseball. As a senior, he won state player of the year and led his school to the 2003 3A state championship.[7]

Lincecum then went on to pitch for the University of Washington. In 2004, he became the first player ever to be named both the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year. In 2006, he finished 12–4 with a 1.94 ERA, 199 strikeouts, and three saves in 125⅓ innings.[3] He won the 2006 Golden Spikes Award, which is awarded annually to the best amateur baseball player.[8] Lincecum also played for the Harwich Mariners in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League during the summer of 2005.

Draft and Minor League career[]

Lincecum was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 48th round (1,408th overall) of the 2003 MLB Draft, but did not sign.[9] He decided to attend college instead, and was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 42nd round (1,261st overall) upon re-entering the draft in 2005, but once again failed to sign.[10] The next year, he was drafted 10th overall by the San Francisco Giants, becoming the first player from the University of Washington to be taken in the first round.[7] He signed for a $2.025 million signing bonus on June 30, which at the time was the highest amount the organization had ever paid to any amateur player (until they gave $2.1 million to Angel Villalona a little over a month later).[11]

Lincecum made his professional debut on July 26, 2006 with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (the Giants' Class A Short Season affiliate) against the Vancouver Canadians, pitching one inning and striking out all three batters he faced. After his second outing on July 31 against the Boise Hawks, in which he pitched three innings, striking out seven and allowing just one baserunner, he was promoted to the High Class-A San Jose Giants.

On August 5, in his first start in San Jose against the Bakersfield Blaze, he pitched 2⅔ innings, allowing three runs (two earned), and striking out five. Lincecum finished the year 2–0 with a 1.95 ERA, 48 strikeouts, and 12 walks in 27⅔ innings pitched. He also got the victory in the opening game of the California League playoffs, giving up one run on five hits in seven innings, striking out ten and walking one against the Visalia Oaks. Visalia would win the series 3–2.

Going into 2007, Lincecum was ranked as the #11 prospect in baseball and the #1 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization by Baseball America.[12] He spent the first month of the season pitching for the Fresno Grizzlies, the Giants' Triple-A affiliate. In five starts (31 innings), he allowed just 1 run, 12 hits, 11 walks, while striking out 46 and going 4–0.[13] During his 2006 and 2007 minor league campaigns, Lincecum struck out the highest percentage of batters (minimum 100) of any minor league pitcher in the last 10 years: 30.9 percent.[14]

Colorado Rockies prospect Ian Stewart called Lincecum "the toughest pitcher [he] ever faced," adding "Guys on our club who have been in the big leagues said he’s the toughest guy they ever faced too … I’m not really sure why he’s down here, but for a guy who was drafted last year … that guy is filthy."[15]

Major League career[]


With an injury to the Giants' fifth starter, Russ Ortiz, Lincecum was called up to make his first major league start on May 6, 2007 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He earned a no-decision; the Giants lost the game eventually, 8–5. In his first career inning, Lincecum gave up two hits, two runs, and struck out three.

He earned his first major league win in his next start, on the road against the Rockies. Lincecum, who is often compared to Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt, faced him in each of his next two starts. After the first matchup, Astros third baseman Mike Lamb said, "The stuff he was throwing out there tonight was everything he's hyped up to be. He was 97 mph with movement. You just don't see that every day. He pitched very much like the pitcher he is compared to and outdueled him throughout the night."[16] The pair dueled to a no-decision the first time, and Lincecum pitched eight innings and got the win the second time.[17]

In his first four starts in June, he allowed 22 earned runs in 18⅔ innings, for a 10.61 ERA. He failed to make it to the fifth inning in any of the last three starts, against Oakland, Toronto, and Milwaukee.[18] In July, he went 4–0 with a 1.62 ERA.[19] On July 1, in a seven inning performance against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he struck out 12, the fourth highest total ever by a Giants rookie.[1]

Lincecum pitched into the ninth inning for the first time on August 21 against the Chicago Cubs. He had allowed just two hits and one walk through the first eight, while throwing only 88 pitches. He took a 1–0 lead into the ninth, but allowed three consecutive hits before being pulled. The Cubs scored several times against the Giants bullpen and Lincecum took the loss. Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot said after the game, "He's got electric stuff. The best stuff I've seen all year."[20]

Lincecum was shut down in September as a precautionary measure, due to his high inning count in his first full year of professional ball.[21] Between the minors and the majors, he pitched a total of 177⅓ innings.[22][23]


File:Lincecum strikes out 11.JPG

Lincecum pitching on August 1, 2008, in San Diego.

The Giants asked Lincecum not to throw the bullpen sessions typical of other pitchers during the offseason. Manager Bruce Bochy told The San Francisco Chronicle that they were being careful with Lincecum because there have been studies that show that pitchers who throw 200 innings early in their career were more susceptible to injuries.[24]

As of July 2008, Lincecum is 11-2, leading the NL with 135 strikeouts and is second in the NL in ERA at 2.57. On May 15, 2008, after Lincecum struck out 10 Houston Astros in 6 innings, Houston first baseman Lance Berkman offered his view of Lincecum: "He's got as good of stuff as I've ever seen. ... He's got three almost unhittable pitches."[25] After falling to Lincecum and the Giants 6–3 on May 27, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Conor Jackson gave his impression of facing Lincecum: "He's got good stuff," Jackson said. "From what I saw tonight, that's the best arm I've seen all year, no doubt. You've got to almost hit a ball right down the middle. You're going to pop up the ball at your bellybutton, which we all did tonight, and the one down, it's coming in at 98 [mph], you're not going to put too much good wood on it. Even the ones down the middle are coming at 98. He's good, man." [26]

Lincecum was on the cover of the July 7, 2008 issue of Sports Illustrated, and on July 6, he was selected to play in his first Major League Baseball All-Star Game. However, he was hospitalized the day of the game due to flu-like symptoms and was unavailable to pitch. In a July 26 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he struck out a career-high 13 batters in 7 innings while allowing only 7 hits, 2 earned runs, and no walks. Tim Lincecum won the NL Cy Young Award in both 2008 and 2009 - benefiting in 2009 from a split of the vote between 2 St. Louis Cardinals pitchers in 2009 (Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.



2004 20 Washington Pac-10 10 3 20 18 0 0 0 112⅓ 83 55 44 5 82 161 7 15 3 3.53 1.469 .207
2005 21 Washington Pac-10 8 6 16 16 4 1 0 104⅓ 62 40 36 4 71 131 10 11 0 3.11 1.275 .179
2006 22 Washington Pac-10 12 4 22 17 3 2 3 125⅓ 75 39 27 8 63 199 10 14 1 1.94 1.101 .173
Totals: 30 13 58 51 7 3 3 342 220 134 107 17 216 491* 27 40 4 2.82 1.275 .186


Minor Leagues[]

2006 22 Salem-Keizer NWL A- 0 0 2 2 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 10 0 1 0 0.00 0.250 .081
San Jose Calif A+ 2 0 6 6 0 0 27⅔ 13 7 6 3 12 48 0 2 0 1.95 0.904 .143
2007 23 Fresno PCL AAA 4 0 5 5 0 0 31 12 1 1 0 11 46 1 1 0 0.29 0.742 .121
Totals: 6 0 13 13 0 0 62⅔ 26 8 7 3 23 104 1 4 0 1.01 0.782 .128


Major Leagues[]

2007 23 San Francisco NL 7 5 24 24 0 0 146⅓ 122 70 65 12 65 150 2 10 618 0 4.00 111 1.278 .226
2008 24 San Francisco NL 12 3 20 19 0 0 129⅔ 115 41 37 7 47 167 2 11 373 2 2.68 211 1.23 .235
Totals: 18 8 44 43 0 0 276 237 111 102 19 112 317 4 21 991 2 3.23 134 1.257 .228



  1. 1.0 1.1 McCauley, Janie (2007-07-01). San Francisco 13, Arizona 0 (7/1/07 Recap). Associated Press. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  2. McCauley, Janie (2007-05-07). Philadelphia 8, San Francisco 5 (5/6/07 Recap). Associated Press. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tim Lincecum Player File. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  4. How Tiny Tim Became a Pitching Giant - Tom Verducci -
  5. Baggarly, Andy (2007-02-22). Top 10 Prospects: San Francisco Giants. Baseball America. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  6. Goldstein, Kevin (2006-12-29). Future Shock: San Francisco Giants Top Ten Prospects. Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Player Bio: Tim Lincecum. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  8. USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  9. 2003 First Year Player Draft Tracker, 48th round. Retrieved on 2007-12-20.
  10. 2005 First Year Player Draft Tracker. Retrieved on 2007-12-20.
  11. Harvey, Coley (2006-08-19). Notes: Broken jaw sidelines Frandsen. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  12. 2007 Top 100 Prospects. Baseball America (2007-02-28). Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Tim Lincecum Statistics. The Baseball Cube. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  14. Wilkins, Ryan (2007-05-01). Lincecum a Giant among prospects. PROTRADE. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  15. Kline, Chris (2007-05-03). Ian Stewart on Tim Lincecum. Baseball America. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  16. Schulman, Henry (2007-05-18). Giants: Strong pitching by Lincecum, relievers helps beat Astros in 12 innings. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  17. ESPN - Phillies vs. Giants - Play-by-Play - May 06, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-07-15.
  18. Tim Lincecum 2007 Pitching Gamelogs. Baseball-Reference. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  19. Tim Lincecum 2007 Pitching Splits. Baseball-Reference. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  20. Haft, Chris (2007-08-22). Lincecum's gem dashed in ninth. Retrieved on 2007-08-31.
  21. Regan, Becky (2007-09-20). Notes: Giants shut down Lincecum. Retrieved on 2007-10-05.
  22. Tim Lincecum Statistics (Minor Leagues). Baseball-Reference: Minor Leagues. Retrieved on 2007-10-05.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Tim Lincecum Statistics. Baseball-Reference. Retrieved on 2008-06-12.
  24. In Lowry, Giants are looking out for No. 3. The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2008-02-16.
  25. Bullpen succumbs to Astros' barrage | News
  26. Gilbert, Steve (2008-05-28). Long ball hurts Haren in loss to Giants. Retrieved on 2008-05-30.
  27. The College Baseball Pitching Stats Database. Boyd's World. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  28. Tim Lincecum Stats and Graphs. FanGraphs. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  29. Tim Lincecum Stats. Retrieved on 2008-06-12.

External links[]