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Tim Lincecum: Will We Ever See ‘The Freak’ Again?

SB Nation’s Rob Neyer says hold off on Tim Lincecum’s obit for a little while.

Fact: Tim Lincecum entered the 2012 season with a 2.98 ERA.

Fact: Tim Lincecum has a 5.89 ERA in 2012.

Fact: It’s really annoying when “writers” present facts this way.

Question: Is Tim Lincecum pitching as poorly as his 2012 ERA suggests? . . .

The other thing is Lincecum’s BABiP, which is .359 this season. As you know, major-league pitchers, whether good or bad, tend to hover in the .290-.300 range. Lincecum entered the season with a career .298 BABiP. Even if his stuff isn’t what it once was, there’s simply no reason to believe he’ll keep giving up a BABiP well north of .300. Last season, Ricky Nolasco led all qualifying major leaguers with a .331 mark. Only five guys were above .320, and they weren’t bums: Nolasco, Edwin Jackson, Derek Lowe, Ryan Dempster, Madison Bumgarner.

It’s quite possible and perhaps quite likely that Tim Lincecum circa 2008-2009 is gone forever. Those two Cy Young Awards are probably the only two that Lincecum will ever win. But it’s too soon to say he’ll not pitch in 2012 roughly as well as he pitched in 2011. And he was pretty well in 2011.

He notes that while Lincecum’s walks per nine is up a tick through 36-2/3 innings of work this season, his strikeout ratio is consistent with his career rate.

Neyer acknowledges that, while we may never again see the pitcher who completely dominated opposing batters during the 2008–09 seasons, it is way too soon to claim that “The Freak” is unlikely to replicate his strong 2010–11 campaigns.

More here.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.

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