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Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:13 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 5:32 pm
 


By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, would you rather have a King or a Freak?

Today's Would You Rather Have isn't easy, that's for sure. We're talking about two of the best pitchers in the game, two right-handers both in their 20s and two guys who lost 14 games in 2011. You want proof that wins is an overrated statistic when it comes to judging a starting pitcher? Felix Hernandez was a .500 pitcher in 2011 and Tim Lincecum was a sub-.500 pitcher. You think either of those guys is a scrub? Yeah, not so much.

The case for Linecum

Lincecum has two Cy Young Awards under his belt before his 28th birthday (this June, by the way) and has thrown at least 212 innings in each of his first four full seasons in the big leagues and he's led the league in strikeouts in the first three of those seasons.

Last season Lincecum went 13-14, but he still had a 2.74 ERA, a 130 ERA+ and a 3.36 xFIP. He also struck out better than a batter an inning and recorded a 1.207 WHIP, while allowing just .6 homers per nine innings.

The case for Hernandez

Hernandez has just one Cy Young, but he arguably deserved another. Oh, and he's not even 26 yet (his birthday is in April). Hernandez came up as a 19-year-old, so he already has seven seasons under his belt, so while young he's hardly inexperienced.

Would You Rather Have
Since his 22nd birthday, Hernandez has thrown at least 200 innings a year, including his 2010 Cy Young year when he was an out from 250 innings on the season.Last season he was 14-14 with a 3.47 ERA but saw his strikeout rate rise to a career-bet 8.6 per nine innings, while his walk rate increased by just a hair.

As for contract status, neither comes cheap -- nor is either locked up long-term. Hernandez is signed through 2014 for a total of $59.5 million, while Lincecum has two more years of arbitration before becoming a free agent after 2013. Lincecum made $14 million last season and has asked for $21.5 million in arbitration this winter, while the Giants are offering $17 million.

Our call

There's no wrong answer to this (and no right answer, for that matter), both are amazing talents. I'd expect the poll to be pretty split. Both pitchers are young, durable and dominant. Both pitchers have home parks that are pitcher-friendly and the money is nearly a wash. There have been injury concerns about both, Hernandez because of his workload and Lincecum because of his slight frame, but neither has had serious injuries. In the end, I'll take Hernandez for his youth, experience and one more year of team control (plus cost certainty).

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Lincecum or Hernandez on your favorite team?



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Comments

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 9:39 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

I have NEVER found an article supporting the statement that a "slight frame" increases injury risk for a baseball player.  In football, hockey, (and perhaps basketball), a slight frame might be a detriment to some degree because of the contact nature of those sports. Baseball is not a contact sport, for the most part.  The reality is players with a "slight frame" have longer than average careers in baseball. A player who takes care of himself will last longer than someone who does not take care of his body.




Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 8:45 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

Tell all the teams that didn't make the playoffs because they didn't have enough of them that wins are overrated.
It amazes me that people are actually this dumb.  WINS are not overrated.  Wins as a measure of a starting pitcher's effectiveness are grossly overrated.  Does it really need to be broken down into bite-size chunks for people? 

Wins indicate how good the team is.  A pitcher cannot win games unless he's going to field every position and drive in and score every run for his team.  See how that works?  The best a pitcher can do is hold down the other team - and other stats are much better evidence of a pitcher's ability than wins.



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 8:41 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

 mariners had the opportunity to draft tim lincecum, but instead they drafted the talented 6ft 10inch brandon morrow
You've never actually seen Brandon Morrow, have you?  If you had you'd kow that 6'10" comment is absolutely ridiculous and you can't keep your pitchers straight.  They did draft Ryan Anderson earlier who was about that height, but if you're gonna call yourself a Mariners fan you should at least be able to keep your own players straight.



Since: Jan 1, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2012 3:12 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

i cant believe this guy gets piad to write this crap.. pick another sport that is currently playing to write about. but as you fellow commentors have already picked up on my losing prone mariners had the opportunity to draft tim lincecum, but instead they drafted the talented 6ft 10inch brandon morrow, who is no longer with the team.. i think that was another move by bill bavasi.. anyways brandons gone now and tim lincecum is a star, but we still have the king.. felix hernandez all the way, hes got untouchable stuff and with a little run support he might have two cy-youngs as well.



Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 11:33 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

The reason for picking King Felix here is pretty basic. Both pitchers are insanely talented AND Felix is two years younger. However, I throw that out the window, seeing as, a) Felix has shown less durability and health over his career, where I don't believe Lincecum has ever been on the DL and, b) Felix has already thrown a couple hundred more innings anyway. This should also cast doubt for those who assert that Lincecum's light frame will doom him to physical breakdown. In the end, Lincecum has shown me more consistency and more big-game ability than Hernandez has.

I think somebody already said it, but the Mariners could have had BOTH of these pitchers. They had a chance to draft Lincecum in '06, a Washington state native, but went ahead and picked reliever Brandon Morrow, who has, to his credit, developed into a solid figure in the late innings of the game. But imagine a rotation with Timmy Tim and the King.



Since: Jul 22, 2011
Posted on: January 21, 2012 11:22 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

With lincecum's build I only see him putting up those types of numbers for more than a few seasons. Felix is build like a frieght train and I think he will be more durable in the long run. Felix all the way



Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 9:32 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

I think you meant Halladay? It would be weird comparing an OF to a pitcher.



Since: Nov 20, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 7:56 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

Rosencrans reasoning for picking Felix is flawed.  Youth?  King Felix has over 300 plus more innings pitched than Timmy.  Experience?  Lincecum has pitched in the playoffs and World Series, brilliantly at that.  Can't beat post-season experience.  Timmy also has superior ERA, strikeout totals and most importantly, his competitive edge is much superior.  Timmy just knows how to win.  This one isn't really hard to make.  Holiday vs. Lincecum would be a better argument.



Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 4:34 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

Tell all the teams that didn't make the playoffs because they didn't have enough of them that wins are overrated.  

I guarantee if you ask any pitcher if he would rather have a 25-5 record and a 4.50 ERA or a 10-20 record and a 1.50 ERA, they would choose the wins every time.



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 3:14 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

Doesnt matter to me I would take either!!! flip a coin these guys are awesome!


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