Two or three nights ago Chris St. John (@stealofhome) asked every prospect evaluator on Twitter to compare Tim Lincecum and Matt Moore. I am pretty sure he was asking because he was making a roster move in a fantasy keeper league but the question caught my attention anyway and, best I could tell, didn’t get an answer.
Comparing Moore to Lincecum is a little difficult for a few reasons. First, age is a difficult measure because, when Lincecum was 22, he was in his first pro season after finishing three dominant years at the University of Washington. Moore, on the other hand, came to the Rays straight from Fort Walton Beach high school and is in his 5th minor league season. On the other hand, pro experience doesn’t work either because Lincecum only spent parts of two seasons in the minor leagues due to his advanced development in college.
Nevertheless, just for the heck of it, here are Lincecum’s career minor league totals:
And here are Moore’s career minor league totals:
The numbers don’t tell us a whole lot because Lincecum only pitched 13 minor league games but, Lincecum appears to strikeout a few more hitters than Moore and Moore appears to give up a few more long balls than Lincecum. So, based on this very limited sample, I think it is fair to say that Lincecum’s “stuff” is moderately better than Moore’s “stuff.”
But, comparing Moore and Lincecum long-term, Moore may have the ultimate advantage. By now we are all familiar with Lincecum’s Koufax-esque catapult delivery.
You don’t need a degree in exercise physiology to know that Lincecum’s delivery puts incredible strain on his elbow. In fact, comparing Lincecum to Koufax bodes ill for Lincecum’s long-term health because Koufax suffered great elbow problems during his time. Lincecum sort of reminds me of a more talented Scott Kazmir. The day Kaz made his Devil Rays debut, I remember the buzz in the press box. We all agreed that he was wildly talented. And we all agreed that he was destined to spend 30% of his career on the DL. Little guys, like Kaz and Lincecum, put a lot of strain on their bodies to generate power pitches.
Moore on the other hand is a bigger guy (6’2, 205) and has a more traditional delivery.
Moore’s legs and core pull his arm towards the plate and he appears to use the slope of the mound to generate most of his pop. To my amateur eye, his delivery is very free and easy in comparison to Lincecum.
So, if you needed a monster performance in one game, Lincecum has the edge over Moore. But, if you are trying to predict long-term career totals, there is room to argue that Moore has the edge.