Tim Lincecum will hold a showcase next Thursday, auditioning for Major League teams.
Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner with the San Francisco Giants, has been working out with Driveline Baseball this offseason in an effort to make a comeback. As we noted in December, when photos of him at Driveline surfaced, Lincecum looks to be in pretty amazing physical shape. Still, it’s an open question whether or not he can pitch in the bigs again. He hasn’t pitched since 2016 and even then he didn’t pitch well, going 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38.1 innings with the Angels.
At the same time, he’s only 33 and he’ll obviously be open to a minor league deal with eye toward making a team in spring training, so it’ll cost teams almost nothing to give him a chance. A lot of clubs will be taking in his workout next week, no question. If Lincecum is even close to what he was a few years back, someone will likely take a chance on him. Baseball is all about finding cheap talent these days.
This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.
The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.
As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.