Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pellas On The Pirates: Don't Give Up On Lincoln...Yet

I still have hope that Lincoln can be at least a useful mid-rotation guy in the big leagues. Correia will, presumably, be gone after this season (though ya never know), Bedard almost certainly will be, too, Morton has to prove he's healthy and that he's no longer a space cadet---at least not on days he's pitching---Karstens has to show that he can take a regular turn for an entire season, and so on. In short, there are still plenty of opportunities for Lincoln to show he belongs in the Pirates rotation.

His incredible-for-a-pitcher stick is a big plus, too. Other than Carlos Zambrano, he might already be the best hitter at his position in the National League. Seriously, he's that good with the bat. So, he doesn't really have to be anything more than reliably average to be a definite asset for this team.

But to this point he hasn't been reliably average or even mediocre. He's had a handful of good outings and about twice as many really bad ones. He also doesn't seem to trust his stuff very much; he's a real nibbler, which is puzzling for a guy who has a true hammer for a curveball. I know he's lost a few feet off his fastball because of the surgery, but if I'm not mistaken his heater is still hitting 92-93 MPH---not great, but definitely a better than average major league fastball.

The fact that he doesn't have a third pitch has been pointed out in various places, and his fastball is also pretty "straight," but even so you'd think he'd go right after hitters a lot more than he does. There are many pitchers, in other words, who have lesser stuff than Lincoln who succeed by being far more aggressive. So, it's very strange.

Maybe his best position would be in the bullpen after all. A number of commentators said so back when Lincoln was first promoted; I have fought against that perception because we need all the starters we can get and because I think we need his bat, but maybe in the 'pen he can dial it up for one or two innings at a time and he'll have better results. I dunno. The clock is ticking with him, that's for sure.

(Will Pellas, GW's co-conspirator, contributes his thoughts on the Brad Lincoln enigma.)

No comments: