Saturday, February 01, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: Timmies Talking

Now this is exactly what I was hoping for when Hudson signed.  Baggarly reported this quote from Lincecum regarding what he would ask Hudson:
“How do you throw your sinker!” Lincecum said. “Now I only throw a two-seamer that runs over the plate.”
Lincecum went on to say that he’d ask Hudson, the majors’ active leader with 205 wins, how he goes about his business when he isn’t getting results.
“When he doesn’t feel at his best, what did he turn to?” Lincecum said. “What made him feel he had a leg to stand on?”
ogc thoughts

This is what I was hoping to hear about after Hudson was signed.  This is in line with what the Giants did before in signing Morris (to mentor Cain) and Johnson (to mentor Sanchez, and probably Lincecum too), so this is probably something they thought of when pursuing him, and perhaps part of the calculus in giving Lincecum the money he got.  Cain talked often about what he learned from Morris, even after Morris was gone.

And the timing was right.  Atlanta decided to let Hudson go, and Lincecum needs help.  He's making his chances, but there is more that can be done.  And Hudson, wow, I knew he was good, but when I looked at his career numbers, he has been amazingly consistent.  Roughly 3.5-ish ERA for his career, roughly 3.5 ERA before TJS, roughly 3.5 ERA after TJS, without skipping a beat.  That type of consistency bespeaks his ability to adjust as hitters adjust, as his velocity declined, as his skills declined, as his body declined, and he basically found a way to be successful, despite anything the fates threw at him.

That's partly why I'm pretty confident that his ankle injury was just another bump on the road, another obstacle that he will figure out how to get the most of what he got left.  He's too much of a professional to sign a contract if he's not feeling good and so far all the reports are that his recovery is right on track.  And while you never know for certain - cough, DeRosa - broken ankles are not an unusual injury to get over, nothing exotic to get over, pretty cut and dried, at least to me.

And that's why I'm excited that Lincecum wants to pick from Hudson's brain his repertoire of tricks he has learned over his long career.  If he can learn the sinker and how to pitch when he does not have his best stuff, I think that will more than pay for Hudson's contract AND Lincecum's contract TOGETHER.  Timmies, please make it so.

4 comments:

  1. Maybe it would have been cheaper to just bring in Rick Reuschel to camp, and let him explain his bag of tricks to Timmy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, well, he's now a Pirates alumni person now or something, we would need to steal him away for that!

      For some reason, don't recall why, but I looked up his stats over the weekend, and boy, I thought he was a strikeout guy, but he barely struck out anybody, though also didn't walk many either, he was about as true a BABIP as you can be and still be a major league pitcher, it was around 4-something K/9. Now I understand his methodology of letting hitters know that his first pitch was the best strike the hitter was going to see, then it gets worse. That ties in with letting the BABIP gods take over his starts, why one game he shuts them down, other times, they batter him around the park. That's nothing like how Timmy pitches.

      Hudson, being of short stature, has had to deal with issues that Lincecum has had to deal with too, and been successful doing. He has had to adjust to lower velocity and less stuff after being more of a strikeout pitcher early in his career, yet his ERA has been consistently great, no really bad seasons like Lincecum, he had one really bad one and continued to have a great ERA after that bad season, even when needing a TJS. Mentorship like that is what the Giants were looking for, to help Timmy make his transition.

      More importantly, Hudson has been a very good pitcher the past few years, despite his age. Getting a pitcher with his level of excellence normally would have took more money and more years, but he took less to be with the Giants (reportedly the A's offered him more money). His ERA was high in 2013, but his skill level as represented by his peripherals showed that he was basically as good in 2013 as he was in 2011, he was just suffering from bad luck. Nolasco got 4 years and $49M for achieving a 3.70 ERA in 2013, but has a career 4.37 ERA, for example. Hudson got 2 years and $23M, roughly the same per year, but his career ERA is 3.44 for his career (not just for one year) and 3.33 in the four seasons since he had his TJS, he has been amazingly consistent with his ERA over his career, even at age 38-39, I would bet he outpitches Nolasco handily. I would be shocked if he doesn't.

      So Hudson is very cheap for what he can do on the baseball diamond. Yet he can add even more value to the Giants through his mentorship with Timmy and anyone else who might want to pick his brains. And if Timmy can learn a sinker to go with the stuff he already has, he could be back to Cy Young levels again. That possibility excites me.

      Delete
  2. How do you throw your sinker, Huddy?

    Well son, let me tell you about a guy who used to pitch for this team. Name was Bob Shaw……

    Just kidding!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Have never understood how Timmy can't/won't try a different grip to get some movement on that dead straight FB. Gotta have it to be effective.

    Ask Vogie and put in some work f'godsake.

    ReplyDelete

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