Tim Lincecum: Why The Freak is Still Fantasy Relevant

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Clearly Tim Lincecum is far, far removed from his former Cy Young form. In fact, over his last two seasons, Timmy’s ERA and WHIP have been awful, especially when compared to what we had grown used to. 

Timeframe
ERA
WHIP
2007-20112.981.188
2012-20134.761.389

So, why should we still care about Tim Lincecum’s fantasy value? Simple, the strikeouts are still there. Here are Timmy’s k:9 for his 7 MLB seasons: 

Season
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
K/99.2310.5110.439.799.129.198.79

Yes, his K:9 is lower than ever, BUT he is still close to 9 per 9, or one an inning. This makes him worth at least a look because you can stabilize your ERA and WHIP in a variety of ways.

  1. We’ve discussed MRI before but simply put—using, it involves using low ERA and WHIP middle relievers to round out your pitching. It’s still a little-used strategy, so you can usually pick these guys up late in drafts or cheap in auctions, or even wait until afterwards.
  2. You Timmy to a rotation of good ERA and WHIP guys that may lack a little in the K:9 area such as Tim’s new team mate Tim Hudson, Hyun-Jin Ryu, or Ervin Santana.  Never-the-less, Tim Lincecum still has some fantasy value, the trick is to figure out how to fit that value onto your fantasy team. If you had all four on your team in 2012, look at what you would’ve had.
Pitcher
IP
H/BB
ER
K
W
ERA
WHIP
Tim Lincecum197.2184/7696193104.371.315
Tim Hudson131.1120/36589583.971.188
Hyun-Jin Ryu192182/4964154143.001.203
Ervin Santana211190/517616193.241.142
Totals732676/212294603413.611.21

Not a bad start. Put a top-flight pitcher and a few good closers in a fantasy rotation with them, and it looks pretty decent.

One main thing  to consider for Timmy, what will his role be with the San Francisco Giants? A move to the bullpen was talked about last season,  but the two year, 35 million dollar deal doesn’t suggest a move to the bullpen. Now, a move to the bullpen would not kill his fantasy value, but I am guessing that scenario is a little ways off. For now, let’s focus on Timmy as a starter going into next season.

For Tim to get back to 2011 and before form, he needs to work on his control and locating his pitches. On a positive note, his walks were down last season while his innings pitched were up from 2012, which of course is reflected in his WHIP. I think that Tim Lincecum is figuring things out and should be a fine pitcher this year. With the strikeouts, he also has great upside if he can continue to master his control once again. That however, is all speculation.

What is not just speculation is the fact that Timmy belongs in your fantasy rotation! Albeit as a dollar pitcher or a last couple rounds of a snake draft, but he is a guy that can really be a valued asset in those rounds because of his high K:9.

You cannot scoff at 200 ks that late or cheap in a draft. Lincecum has only failed to reach 180 once in his career — in his rookie year of 2007 when he wasn’t called up until the first month of May, and was shut down with a few weeks to go. So, there really isn’t any injury concern here.

You just need to be wise with Timmy. If he is facing the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road, I might choose to sit him. If he is facing the Padres at home (or on the road) then he could be a killing start. So, just play it by ear with Tim and you will be pleased with your late draft pick up.

Topics: Tim Lincecum

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