Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum Will Benefit from San Francisco Giants' Learning Curve
At the beginning of the season, I wrote about how excited I was about the youth movement proposed by the Giants front office. But, come Opening Day, Dave Roberts was in left, Rich Aurilia was at first, and Ray Durham was at second.
But that did not last long.
In the first couple weeks of the season, Roberts was injured and Rajai Davis was released, giving Fred Lewis the chance to play every day. Lewis responded by catching fire and led the majors in average from the leadoff spot. He's definitely cooled off a little bit, but he has the tools to stay on this team for a long time.
The injury to Omar Vizquel opened up competition at shortstop, and I still believe the Giants made a mistake by promoting Brian Bocock—but they rectified their error by also bringing up Manny Burriss.
If the Giants are serious about their youth movement, they should see that Burriss is in the perfect position, being able to learn from Vizquel and also gain valuable experience at both short and second.
John Bowker, a guy who I knew nothing about coming into this season, has been a jolt, hitting homers at a high rate, as well as being the second outfielder to take the crash course at first base.
The youth movement isn't only limited to position players, but also to the pitching staff.
The Giants have five pitchers under the age of 26 and nine pitchers with under three full years of experience at the big league level.
Tim Lincecum, who is actually older than Matt Cain, is playing at an All-Star level. Cain, while he's not hitting home runs, is regaining his confidence and also his stuff.
Brian Wilson in the closer's role is working for them so far, and the new guys to the bullpen, including DLers Erick Threets and Merkin Valdez, have shown that they belong in the show.
It's not that I didn't like the Steve Klines or the Mike Stantons, but these new guys have earned their stripes in the minors.
Cain and Lincecum have the potential to become a one-two punch like Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were for the Diamondbacks
Brian Sabean looks like a genius for not trading for Alex Rios and for shutting Lincecum down for the winter.
They both throw hard, but also have that ace quality in them, too. Maybe the Giants can find that third ace to throw in there—or maybe, just maybe, Zito can come back over the next two years to round out that top of the rotation.
But Cain and Lincecum, both only 24 years old, have got it. Cain has proved he's very durable, and has flirted with a no-hitter a couple of times. Lincecum is crazy good and seems to just keep improving.
Both Lincecum and Cain also lack ego—the attitude of a budding star that can take away from the natural ability. What's scary is that as they both continue to learn, they're going to get even better.
The Giants will not let these kids go. Much like Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis are for the Warriors, Cain and Lincecum are the future of this franchise.
And that's what it all comes down to.
These are kids. They're young. They're inexperienced. They make mistakes. They will continue to make mistakes.
It's the mix that they have with Vizquel, Winn, and Aurilia that makes these mistakes few and far between as the season goes on.
They will lose.
But, as we've found out from being baseball fans, even the best hitters still get out 60 percent of the time.
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