Lincecum discusses life, not pitching, with his dad


Lincecum discusses life, not pitching, with his dad

SEATTLE Tim Lincecum is on his home turf this weekend.Hell have to defend much more than that when he takes the mound Saturday.

And hes fully aware of it.

I need to make my stand, do something, show people Imstill worth keeping in a rotation, Lincecum said. So hopefully this is aspringboard. Right now, I feel good.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner and Seattle native, comes home on a careerlow. He
is 2-7 with a 6.00 ERA that ranks 119th out of 122 majorleague pitchers to make at least 10 starts. The Giants are 0-8 in his lasteight starts.

Its an odd moment for Lincecum to take the moundat Safeco Field for the first time. Will it be a net positive to be home? Orwill it be one more distraction he doesnt need?

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I feel like its tilting in my favor, said Lincecum, whowon the Golden Spikes Award when he led the nation in strikeouts at theUniversity of Washington. I dont feel its a negative at all. I feel likethis is a comfort zone for me.

Im a homebody. Im not saying this is where I need to beto pitch, but you can take a break from whats been going on, come back hereand get a different perspective on things. See family, see friends, and justkind of take the edge off, give yourself the benefit of the doubt the next timeout and just go out there with a level head. Im definitely looking forward toit.

Lincecum hopes to control more than a level head. Hes alsoworking to incorporate mechanical tweaks as suggested by pitching coach DaveRighetti, including quieting his hands and eliminating unnecessary movement.The changes are designed to give him more consistent command, especially of hisfastball.

Thats why I used to go to the stretch -- to have lessmoving parts, to simplify things, Lincecum said. Thats kind of the directionIm going in. You guys can see it. The repetition is not there. Ive got toget that muscle memory back where Im throwing everything out of the same slot.Thats what people used to say about me. It came out in the same slot, the samehand.

Lincecum said he is not soliciting pitching advice from hisfather, Chris, who had been his coach his whole life and worked to develop thegymnastic mechanics that allowed him to generate such power from his smallishframe.

I think our relationship more has become about life, saidLincecum, who spent Thursday night at home with his dad. Back in the day hewas my coach and teacher and getting me prepared for this life. Now Im on myown and hes had to let go the last couple years.

We talk to each other. Not as much as people would think,but were still as close as we could be. Thats the thing. Were so much alikethat we can butt heads on things. Were both stubborn and we know that. We canget to bickering and we know the cycle. We know how its gonna go.

It is great to see him. Last night when I went over Ialways manage to piss him off with a smart-ass comment I make or something whenits like, Hey arent you just like happy to see me? My dad takes it toanother level. Thats just our relationship.

And Righetti? Theres a fair amount of head-butting thatgoes on there, too, right?

Its a very similar relationship, Lincecum said. My dadsmy dad obviously and Rags is like a second cousin to him.

Lincecum had an enjoyable 28th birthday onFriday. A group of more than 100 Giants fans even sang Happy Birthday to himas the team stretched on the field. There were plenty of Beatlesesque shrieks,too.

Lincecum got to meet his newborn niece for the first time.He also got to sleep in his own bed; he owns a condo near downtown, where helives in the offseason.

Lincecum said he hasnt thrown off a mound at Safeco Fieldin his life, other than a bullpen session when the Giants played their lastinterleague series here in 2009. The Huskies never scrimmaged or played a gamehere when he was in college. Lincecum didnt participate in any predraftworkouts here, either.

The draft remains a sore spot for the locals, who haventforgotten that the Mariners then-GM Bill Bavasi and scouting director BobFontaine Jr. took Cal pitcher Brandon Morrow when Lincecum was still on theboard. The Giants grabbed Lincecum when he was available with the 10thoverall pick.

Lincecum said hes let go of any miffed feelings he mighthave had.

Not at all, he said. I mean, I was completely contentwhen it happened that day. I was on the golf course when it happened and thatwas one of the best days of my life.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park


Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need. 

Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?

The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers. 

The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming. 

The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span. 

Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers. 

There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down. 

Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'


Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'

Former A's left fielder/DH and Bay Area native, Jonny Gomes, last played Major League Baseball in 2015. The next year, Gomes looked to continue his career in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. 

Gomes struggled in Japan, batting just .169 in 18 games. While in Japan though, Gomes saw firsthand the two-way talent of Shohei Ohtani. 

"The dude throws 100 miles per hour consistently," Gomes said Tuesday to MLB Network Radio. "That plays."

With MLB, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreeing to a new posting system, Ohtani should soon be available as a free agent to MLB teams. Gomes was adamant that Ohtani will live up to the hype. 

"If you have the arm speed to throw 100 miles per hour, guess what your slider's gonna do -- yikes. And he also has a split, which is yikes with that arm speed. And he also has a changeup, and he also has a curveball. You're talking about five plus, plus, plus pitches.

"If he was in the draft, I think it would be a no-brainer right now that he'd be No. 1 overall," Gomes said. 

Since turning pro as an 18-year-old, Ohtani has been a dominant force on the mound. The 6-foot-3 right-hander owns a 42-15 career record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP. 

What makes Ohtani, 23, so intriguing is that he's not only the best pitcher in Japan, he may be the best hitter too. In 2017, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs in 65 games. The left fielder/DH owns a .286/.358/.500 career slash line with 48 home runs. 

"Now hitting wise, is it gonna transfer, is it not? I've seen the dude hit a fly ball that hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome," Gomes remembers. "So, what does that tell you? That bat speed's there, that power's there, that he's generating a lot out front.

"To be able to hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome is way more impressive than hitting any other roof in the states. It would be like hitting the roof in Seattle when it was closed, it's way up there."

Everyone knows about Ohtani off-the-charts talent. The stats are there. What we don't know as much about is his personality. Gomes does and he believes his leadership will make him be a star in the states. 

"I'm a big fan of the dude," Gomes says. "I saw his work ethic, I saw how players treated him, I saw how respectful he was. Over there it's all about seniority. Granted he was the biggest star on the field at any given moment, but still gave the utmost respect to seniority guys on his ball club."