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?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:55 pm

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

Linecum all day.  Not even close.  Hernandez is not going to be a long career type guy, no offense.

Since: Nov 14, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:48 pm

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

This is a good one... Timmy is fun to watch pitch, but I have to go with Felix soley based on age.

Since: Jun 14, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:34 pm

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

I'm going with Tim Linecucum on this one.

Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:31 pm

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?


Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:10 pm

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

I'm leaning towards King Felix in this duel. For some reason I feel like Tim Lincecum's best days are behind him, but regardless when you are talking about two of the best pitchers in baseball, you gotta go with the younger gun.

I'll take King Felix and an extra two years of his prime versus big game Timmy Jim.

Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:03 pm

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?

Tim has stronger numbers in his prime. Felix has been better the last 2 years, and shows less signs of regression. I lean on Felix here, despite being a Giants fan.

It is razor thin. If Timmy can put up another 250K year and get his FIP back under 3, he would regain my vote. Also,

Felix is throwing more innings, but 2010's 5 starts Tim had should be considered, and the IP is more of a draw to me.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or