Drafted by the Giants in the first round (No. 10 overall) of the 2006 draft out of the University of Washington, few organizations seemed interested in drafting Tim Lincecum, a 5’11”, 175-pound right-hander with highly unorthodox mechanics.
However, Lincecum’s stellar track record as an amateur was hard to ignore, not to mention his arsenal of above-average to plus offerings and highly deceptive mechanics.
It didn’t take long for “The Freak” to reach the major leagues, as the Giants called up the then-23-year-old up after only 13 starts in the minor leagues. Although he endured some initial struggles following the promotion, it was clear that there were great things to come.
In 2008, his first full season in the major leagues, Lincecum went 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA, 7.2 H/9, 10.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 and, more importantly, won the National League Cy Young award.
The following year, Lincecum, in his age-25 season, collected his second straight Cy Young award after posting a 15-7 record, 2.48 ERA, 6.7 H/9, 10.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
Between the 2008 and 2009 seasons, he made 65 starts, logged 452.1 innings and compiled 526/152 K/BB. Not too shabby, right?
But since his back-to-back Cy Young campaigns, Lincecum has regressed across the board in every subsequent season. However, I’m only interested in extolling his virtues.
As we shift our focus to the minor leagues, are there any prospects capable of making a Lincecum-like impact? Normally, I would say no. But considering the ridiculous upside of the game’s elite pitching prospects, it’s entirely possible.