Tim Lincecum’s chances of making an MLB comeback are increasing after he hit 93 mph in a showcase for scouts.
Former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum looks like a serious option for teams in 2018, after impressing in his Thursday showcase. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, scouts are expecting the 33-year-old Lincecum to catch on with a team this spring.
Feinsand quoted a scout saying:
“I think he’ll definitely get a job, there’s no doubt about that,” the source said. “At this time of the year, it’s probably a Minor League contract with an invitation [to Spring Training], but he’ll get signed.”
Lincecum did not meet with any scouts or team representatives after the workout, despite many expecting the veteran righty to get another shot in 2018. Of course, Lincecum made headlines earlier this offseason when pictures of workouts were shared to social media, revealing a more muscular Lincecum.
Feinsand reports that Lincecum threw about 25 pitches in a 10-minute session, throwing exclusively in the wind-up. Scouts pointed out that former Giant and Angels pitcher took a long time to warm up, but once he felt good was throwing as hard as he could, reportedly touching 93 mph.
That’s excellent news for prospective teams, as Lincecum’s fastball velocity in 2016 topped out at 88.4 mph. In fact, Lincecum hasn’t consistently thrown in the 90s since 2014, making his role for future teams fuzzy.
He’d likely prefer to remain a starter but with Lincecum’s rapidly declining stuff, it’s possible he more effective as a reliever at this point in his career. Looking at Lincecum career numbers, it’s hard to believe that a former back-to-back Cy Young winner with a WAR of 25.6 from 2007-2011, has posted a -4.3 WAR from 2012 to his last season in the MLB in 2016, according to baseball reference.
“The Freak” not only saw a dip in his velocity after 2012, but he also struggled to generate strikes, as teams started to swing less at his filthy stuff. As players became more patient, Lincecum started issuing more walks, something he’s always struggled with throughout his career. As the strikeouts totals started to fall, his walks continued to pile up, and soon Lincecum saw his ERA balloon to 4.94 over the last six seasons of his career.
Lincecum will likely sign a minor league deal with a team over the next week, and see if he can catch on at the major league level. However, he’ll need more than a 93 MPH fastball to fix his linger control issues that have sabotaged the back-half of his career.
If he is unable to get a grasp of his evasive control issues, it won’t matter what role he decides on, he won’t be playing in the MLB this season or possibly ever again.