Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Russell is walking a fine, fine line

Russ Ortiz is one day closer to losing his grip on the fifth spot in the starting rotation. Ortiz isn't pitching too poorly, mind you. But with The Franchise putting up utterly ridiculous numbers in Fresno, Ortiz needs to pitch much better than average in order to keep his job as a starter.

In a way, I feel bad for Ortiz. I really do. His comeback is a great story and in any other year he would likely have secured a season-long stay in the rotation. However, this isn't most years.

Barring a trade, I don't see who else the team can pull from the rotation. Forget about Cain and Zito. Morris is impossible to move with his albatross of a contract. Lowry should get the benefit of the doubt because young, lefty starters who can throw 200 innings don't come around very often.

Tim Lincecum is receiving more national hype than any Giants prospect in recent memory. It's nothing short of a huge jolt of excitement.

From an article that appeared on sfgiants.com last night:

What separates Lincecum from mortal pitching prospects isn't his 2007 performance, however. No, the biggest indication that he could be a truly historic talent is what he did in 2006. There, in just 31 2/3 innings (he was drafted in June,keeping him from pitching a full season for the Giants), Lincecum struck out the highest percentage of batters (minimum 100) of any Minor League pitcher in the last 10 years, 30.9. And the hurlers below him on that list will sound familiar to even casual fans: Scott Kazmir, Josh Beckett and Francisco Liriano, just to name a few. Talk about elite company.

Put Lincecum's two seasons together, though, and you get one of the more impressive Minor League pitching performances in recent memory. One-hundred and four strikeouts. Twenty-six hits allowed. Twenty-four walks allowed. Eight runs allowed. A .124 opponents' batting average. And all of that in 62 2/3 innings as a starter.

Cartoonish numbers, right? There has to be a catch, right? Maybe not...
"He has nothing left to prove," states PROTRADE's Brian Mead. "Pitching might be as elusive as a white whale. But Tim Lincecum can't be considered a pitching prospect after what we've seen."

Mead continues: "No, this is clearly a good Major League pitcher who's just spinning his wheels in Triple-A until his team can bring him up. The impact he's going to have will be mind-blowing and immediate."

For Ortiz, his hellacious night against the Rockies (3.1 innings, 8 runs) didn't help his case. And his now hellacious ERA of 6.44 may be one step closer to the bullpen.

1 comment:

OZ said...

Am I going crazy, or was Russ showing the ball awful early last night? I realize Reghetti is a much smarter man than I, but Russ' windup screamed, "I want to be replaced by Lincecum!"

Last night was frustrating.