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Would you rather have Matt Cain over Tim Lincecum for the next six years?

Mar 1, 2010, 12:20 PM EDT

ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski starts out his latest column — a transcript of the ramblings of some scout he knows — by saying “Call him Scout X. Big league lifer. One of the best in the business. Has forgotten more about baseball than you and I will ever know.”  Of course, Wojciechowski’s writing suggests he doesn’t know all that much about baseball, so that’s no big trick.  But I’ll let you be the judge. Woj’s scout says this:

I don’t pay to see game, but if I had to, I’d pay to see Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants. But if you give me the choice between Lincecum and Cain, I’ll take Cain for the next six, seven years.  Cain
can really pitch, man. Lincecum, he’s a freak. He weighs 160 or so
pounds. He’s a max-effort guy with a bad delivery. Don’t get me wrong
— he punched out 261 guys last year and he might pitch forever. But
it’s just that Cain pitches with such ease. He won 14 games last year
with a 2.89 ERA. Lincecum won 15 with a 2.48. See what I’m saying?

All I see is that he’s (a) overvaluing wins; and (b) living about 10 years in the past when it comes to analyzing pitching mechanics, because people who know about this stuff don’t worry too much about Lincecum’s mechanics.

But if he wants to join the fantasy league in which I own Matt Cain, I’d be more than happy to do some trades with him.

  1. Dan - Mar 1, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    I believe that was the same article in which the scout was quoted as calling Orlando Hudson, “the best defensive second baseman in the game.”
    Everything did seem a bit outdated to me.

  2. Curious George - Mar 1, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Boggles the mind to know that somebody is cutting him regular paychecks. His material isn’t even worthy of the lowliest fanboy blog.

  3. Michael - Mar 1, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    It’s ironic: when a sportswriter uses language like the “Scout X” stuff, I realize I’ve forgotten more about sportswriting than he’ll ever know.
    And that ain’t much.

  4. JBerardi - Mar 1, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    “But it’s just that Cain pitches with such ease. He won 14 games last year with a 2.89 ERA. Lincecum won 15 with a 2.48. See what I’m saying?”

    Wow. That’s some really great scouting you’re doing there, scout-guy.

  5. PalookaJoe - Mar 1, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    It’s been a while since I’ve read a Gene Wojciechowski column, but the columns I remember were either “outrage porn” or discussion prompts.
    Outrage porn (aka “I’m mad as hell/deeply concerned/nostalgic for the old days” columns) columns drive me absolutely crazy. Sure, it feels great to work myself up over big contracts, PEDs, player tattoos and people who don’t clean out the lint trap after every load, but once the rush is gone all I have left are soiled (or at least linty) trousers and a vague sense of shame.
    Discussion prompts (like the article in Craig’s link) feel like they’re more about pulling in page views and discussion board comments than they are about actual sports journalism. When a writer says something like “According to Scout X, Ross Gload is a better choice for most teams than Albert Pujols. Discuss.” I feel like I’m back in college.
    I’m not sure about the definition of sportswriting. But whether or not Gene’s columns qualify, they aren’t something I want to read.

  6. Ben - Mar 1, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    I read the column, don’t ask me why, when I read it I thought that the scout might have actually been decent. Obviously I was wrong. Basically, the scout’s playoff predictions were that the exact same teams make the postseason as last year. He also way overvalued wins, didn’t use a single stat but wins and ERA throughout his whole post. That’s pathetic. My seven year old cousin is picking the best pitchers on FIP, K/9, K/walk, and WHIP, and this guy is using wins!? Are you kidding me? How the hell is this guy a scout in the majors? If this is one of the best scouts in the majors, then the scouting department is much worse than I thought.

  7. old ivan - Mar 1, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    two things. I stopped reading this guy 3 years ago because of dribble like this. he wrote a column calling clubbies, batboys, and clubhouse attendents things like “jock sniffers” and “lowlifes.” I worked as a clubbie for years and believe me when i say few people in baseball work harder than clubbies. ironic also that someone who follows sports stars for a living is throwing stones at others in the sports business. secondly, most scouts i met through the years are married to outdated indicators like velocity, rbis, “tools”, being a “winner” and other such nonsense. not surprising that woj would swallow that crap.

  8. scatterbrian - Mar 1, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    “He’s a max-effort guy with a bad delivery.”
    This is one of those things Scout X should have forgotten. Mark Prior had impeccable mechanics. Fausto Carmona has electric stuff that looks effortless. See what I’m saying?

  9. scatterbrian - Mar 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Mark Prior had what scouts deemed impeccable mechanics. Scouts say Fausto Carmona has electric stuff and that his delivery is effortless. See what I’m saying?

  10. jdawg - Mar 2, 2010 at 5:46 AM

    Wow… his sole “professional insight” for cain over lincecum is that “he pitches with such ease”… are you sure this “scout x” isn’t Gene Wojciechowski? I like Cain and I do think he’ll be more durable, but man… can you offer us a little more Gene??

  11. Amada Clater - Mar 2, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    maybe you would enjoy my site, i certainly enjoyed yours. – Smoke Shop

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