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Getting to know Tim "The Freak" Lincecum

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Who is Tim Lincecum, why do they call him The Freak, and more importantly - can he pitch?

Caitlin O'Hara, Special To The Chronicle

Freak of Nature

Lincecum's nickname could have many sources, as you will see below, but in short in refers to well, him being short.  Lincecum's bio lists him at 5'11" and 170# which many consider being generous.  It's a well known baseball principle that the better pitchers are muscular, athletic, tall.  Lincecum doesn't really fit the bill, but that hasn't stopped him from having a successful career.

However, Lincecum has proven that well-honed mechanics can overcome size (see the video above).  There is a great article on the physics of Lincecum's pitching here.

First Round Pick

Lincecum was born and bred in Washington state and had a great final college year pitching for the University of Washington and posting a 1.94ERA with a 12-4 record and 199 Ks over 125 IP.

He was drafted by the Cubs in 2003 and Indians in 2005 but didn't sigh with either.  Instead, he finished college and was signed 10th overall in the 2006 draft by the San Francisco Giants.

LIncecum had a meteoric rise to the Majors and went from A ball to the MLB roster in less than 12 months, throwing only 62 innings during his entire minor league career.  He was a month shy of his 23rd birthday when he made his major league debut in May 2007.

Career Highlights

Back to back Cy Young awards are an incredibly elite group of pitchers and Lincecum joined this select few after his 2008 and 2009 seasons.

in addition to his Cy Young Awards, Lincecum has won 3 World Series championships, pitched two no-hitters (2013 & 2014), and is a 4 time All Star (2008-2011),

Pitch Arsenal

The Freak throws 4 pretty standard pitches, though he does throw a 2-seam fastball in addition to the 4-seam.  When he first hit the bigs, he didn't even have a slider - a pitch he started throwing in 2008 (his second year).  His fastball was blazing in his early days, topping out at 99MPH.

In recent years, LIncecum's velocity decline has been notable.  In 2014 he was hitting 89-91 and in 2015 he was down again to 88-90.  He's lost about 1MPH since 2008 which is not a steep decline, but an early decline for someone who is only 31 years old.  During his pitching showcase last month in Arizona, he was topping out at 92MPH but consistently hitting 90-91.

Lincecum's strikeout rate has had a huge drop since it peaks around 10.4 in 2009, all the way down to 7.07 in 2015.  I wouldn't be surprised if much of the 2015 drop was due hip problems (as well as the 2014 drop which had him at 7.75).  Hip problems don't happen overnight, and now that he has a bionic replacement, it's quite possible that his effectiveness will go back up, as well as his K/9 rate.

50 Shades of The Freak

Lincecum could be nicknamed The Freak for his athletic ability, or many other facets.  He fits the stereotype of a Washington State pothead and was even busted for possession in 2009.  He wears birckenstocks and loose pants, plays video games and has long hair (often in a ponytail).

He actually seems like a pretty down-to-earth, likable and normal dude.  You can check him out at home a couple years ago with this video.

Speaking of home, Lincecum lived in Escala (as depicted in the above video), a luxury high rise in downtown Seattle that was the setting for the 50 Shades of Gray story.  I never ran into Timmy, but I had a friend who lived in Escola and it was a pretty impressive place (though with an almost corporate feel) in the heart of the city.  The Freak also has a home in Arizona and who knows, maybe he will be shopping in Anaheim in the near future.

During his tenure for the Giants, Lincecum become one of the bay area's most-loved athletes since Joe Montana.

Social Media

Lincecum's social media presence is scarce.  He was a Twitter account, but hasn't updated it since 2012.  His Instagram page has exactly zero posts, but yet he has almost 17,000 followers.  I guess they are still waiting for that first post?  His Facebook page has been entirely devoted to marketing himself in the wake of his post-surgery comeback and every post is about that recovery.

Welcome Aboard!

Finally, I want to wish The Freak a fine welcome aboard to the Angels.  He may not be the savior we need to make it into the post season, but he will hopefully make our season a little more bearable to watch.  Try not to suck as bad as Shoemaker and Weaver, okay Freak?