Who should be picked first in 2010 drafts: Zack Greinke or Tim Lincecum? Both pitchers were ridiculously dominant in 2009, and will be fighting to take the baton from Johan Santana as the first pitcher taken.
During drafts last year, Lincecum was taken in the early to mid second round, with Greinke going in the seventh or eighth round. There is no chance that Greinke and Lincecum shouldn’t (I should say won’t, but some people just aren’t intelligent) be the first two pitchers off the board this year, but in what order? Even though I’m sure you’ve seen the numbers plenty of times with the Cy Young awards being handed out recently, let’s review each player’s fantasy numbers from the past season:
Lincecum: 15 W, 2.48 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 261 K (225.1 IP)
Greinke: 16 W, 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 242 K (229.1 IP)
With those numbers, how are you not a Cy Young winner (let’s not argue about that here). If you want to go a little bit deeper, here are some of my favorite non-fantasy stats for each player:
Lincecum: 10 HR, 47.5% GB%, 2.34 FIP
Greinke: 11 HR, 40% GB%, 2.33 FIP
No home runs, decent ground balls, and nearly identically brilliant FIP’s some how good these guys truly were in ’09. Neither season seemed to be a fluke, so we are going to have to look beyond the player to evaluate who should be drafted first. Both pitchers will put up great strikeouts, ERA’s, and WHIP’s next year, so the Wins will be called into question. To predict wins, we need to examine each team:
Giants - Awful offensive team, getting on-base at a .309 clip, worst in the major leagues. The defense, however, ranked 4th in the league in UZR, and the ballpark is perfect for pitchers. The Giants have money to spend and are actively trying to improve the offense to assist their excellent pitching staff.
Royals - How can I put this nicely? The Royals are bad. The offense is better than the Giants, but not by much. The defense, well, it sucked. Because of some bad contracts, the Royals won’t be able to acquire anyone of significance to help Greinke out.
Due to his situation, Lincecum is likely to get more wins during 2010, pushing him over the top for the first pitcher taken in drafts next year. While his end of season back problems may cause some concern, I’m not worried about them any more than I am any other potential injuries a pitcher can go through. If you’d rather go Greinke, I don’t think anyone will argue with you, but I’m taking Timmy.