San Francisco Giants: Can The Rotation Recover From A Poor 2013?

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3. Tim Lincecum

Ah, now we’re getting to the good stuff. Big Time Timmy Jim is one of the biggest enigmas in the entire MLB heading into the 2014 season and is the San Francisco Giants biggest wild cards. After four years of being arguable the best pitcher in the National League, including two back-to-back Cy Young awards, Lincecum’s fall from grace was rapid.

In 2012, he was the worst starting pitcher in the major leagues, pitching to a tune of a 5.18 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP and an astonishing 90 walks. His fastball velocity had dropped to 89-91 mph, yet he was still attempted to blow it by hitters. As a result, his offspeed offerings were not nearly as effective, and hitters simply waited for him to pitch a fastball in their direction. In 2013, he had a minor bounce-back, pitching to a tune of a 4.37 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP and 76 walks. While he clearly was not the same dominant pitcher as he was in years past, Lincecum still flashed signs of overpowering stuff, as evidenced by his no-hitter.

The Freak then cashed in this past offseason, signing a two-year extension worth $35 million. As the No. 3 starter in the rotation, Lincecum doesn’t have to be a Cy-Young-worthy pitcher anymore. The Giants just need him to be a consistent innings-eater at the three-spot. The stuff is still there, don’t be mistaken. With 193 strikeouts in 2013, he ranked No. 10 in the league in that category. Without the pressure of being a staff ace, Lincecum should have a solid season in 2014.

Projected 2014 ERA: 3.79