At his peak, Tim Lincecum was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. His fall from grace was precipitous, but his stellar 2010 and 2011 seasons with the San Francisco Giants were still enough to earn him the No. 5 spot.
During his junior season on campus, he went 12-4 with a 1.94 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 125 innings to win the Golden Spikes Award given annually to the best amateur baseball player in the nation.
He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the San Francisco Giants system and the No. 11 prospect in baseball at the start of the 2007 season, according to Baseball America, after posting a 1.71 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 31.2 innings while reaching High-A in his pro debut.
He made his MLB debut on May 6, 2007, less than a year after he was drafted, and wound up making 24 starts, going 7-5 with a 4.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 150 strikeouts in 146.1 innings.
However, since we’re talking about the best players of the 2010s, and looking specifically at that decade, his strong rookie performance and the back-to-back Cy Young Awards that followed are not part of the equation here.
Otherwise, he might have ranked even higher on this list.
Despite the fact that his two best seasons are not taken into consideration here, he was still awfully good in 2010 and 2011.
- 2010: 16-10, 3.43 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 231 K, 212.2 IP
- 2011: 13-14, 2.74 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 220 K, 217.0 IP
He tossed a two-hit shutout in Game 1 of the NLDS in 2010, striking out 14 along the way in one of the most dominant postseason pitching performances in franchise history.
All told, he finished the 2010 postseason with a 2.43 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 37 innings, recording four wins and one hold in five starts and one relief appearance.
His ERA spiked to 5.18 in 2012 and he ended up pitching to a 4.68 ERA and 1.40 WHIP over his final four seasons with the San Francisco Giants, but he still managed to contribute in October.
Working primarily out of the bullpen during the 2012 postseason, he tossed 4.2 scoreless innings of relief with eight strikeouts in the World Series.
His only work during the 2014 playoffs came in the World Series when the struck out two batters over 1.2 perfect innings in Game 2.
So even without his two Cy Young-winning seasons being taken into account, Tim Lincecum still earned his place among the greatest San Francisco Giants players of the 2010s.
Check back here regularly as we count down the 50 best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s.