UW’s Lincecum goes 10th to Giants

  • By Mike Allende / Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, June 6, 2006 9:00pm
  • Sports

Tim Lincecum spent Tuesday morning golfing with his dad and uncle, but his mind was elsewhere. He knew that sometime shortly after 10 a.m., his cell phone would ring with the news of where his professional baseball career would begin.

And the answer did come quickly, when the San Francisco Giants called Lincecum to tell the University of Washington right-handed pitcher that they’d selected him with the 10th pick in the first round of Major League Baseball’s Amateur Draft.

Lincecum is the first Husky picked in the first round since the draft began in 1965.

“I’m excited to have it over with and finally know where I’m going,” Lincecum said. “I’m just ready to get going and start my career. This is what I’ve wanted all my life.”

Baseball America ranked the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Lincecum as the second-best prospect in the draft. However there was concern about Lincecum’s size and his unorthodox delivery, and how he would hold up over a long season. For that reason Lincecum, who owns a fastball clocked as high as 100 miles an hour and the nation’s best curve ball, was the seventh pitcher taken. Though he was a two-time Pacific-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year, he was just the third Pac-10 pitcher selected. Colorado took Stanford’s Greg Reynolds with the second pick and Seattle picked Cal’s Brandon Morrow with the fifth pick.

The Kansas City Royals selected pitcher Luke Hochevar with the first pick. Baseball America’s top-ranked player, North Carolina pitcher Andrew Miller, was taken with the sixth pick by the Detroit Tigers.

Even as the No. 10 pick, Lincecum will be a millionaire. Based on recent drafts, the Renton native who led Liberty High School to the 2003 Class 3A state title is expected to receive a signing bonus of $2-2.5 million.

Though he was picked 10th, many believe that Lincecum could be the first player taken this year to end up in the majors. Some believe he could be in the Giants’ bullpen by the end of the season.

“You could put him in the bullpen right now and he could be in the Giants’ pen by the end of the year, if they want to go that route,” said MLB.com senior writer Jonathan Mayo during the draft telecast. “I’d like to see them start him because I think he has the stuff. I think he’ll prove all those nay-sayers about his stuff and durability, he’s going to prove them wrong.”

“I’ll pitch wherever they need me,” Lincecum said. “It doesn’t matter. I think I can do either.”

Despite his size, Lincecum put up monstrous numbers at Washington. He finished his career as the school record-holder in wins (30) and strikeouts (491). Lincecum, who was selected in the 48th round of the 2003 draft by the Chicago Cubs, was taken in the 41st round last year by Cleveland but did not sign. Instead, he went to the prestigious Cape Cod League, where he improved his control and added a change-up and slider to his repertoire. Pitching for the Harwich Mariners, Lincecum led the league with a 0.68 earned run average, struck out 68 in 391/3 innings and held hitters to a .104 average.

He returned to Washington and had the best season by a Husky pitcher ever, going 12-4 with a 1.94 ERA, a .173 average against and an NCAA-best 199 strikeouts in 1251/3 innings. Earlier this week, he was named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate player.

Lincecum is expected to begin his career at either Class A Augusta (Ga.) of the South Atlantic League or, more likely, Class A San Jose (Calif.) of the California League, which is the Giants’ highest Class A team. It’s unlikely he would play for Salem-Keizer of the Northwest League. It’s also possible he could go straight to Class AA Norwich (Conn.).

“We like his arm, we like his stuff and athleticism,” said Dick Tidrow, San Francisco’s vice president of player personnel. “He’s got a power arm with good breaking stuff. He’s a fast mover who can pitch in either a starting or relief role.”

Several other collegiate players with local ties were selected on the first day of the draft, chief among them University of Kentucky first baseman Ryan Strieby. Strieby, a Brier native who graduated from Mountlake Terrace High School and played two years at Edmonds Community College, was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the fourth round, the 112th pick overall. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Strieby hit .343 with 20 home runs, 77 RBI and 22 doubles for Kentucky. He was picked in the 29th round of the 2004 draft by the Dodgers when he was at Edmonds CC.

Stanford shortstop Chris Minaker of Lynnwood was picked by the Seattle Mariners in the 10th round, the 291st player taken. Minaker, a senior who was drafted for the first time, hit .363 with 11 home runs, 20 doubles and 68 RBI for Stanford. He is the Cardinal’s career leader in RBI and doubles.

Three players went in the 11th round. Justin Fuller, a middle infielder for Lewis-Clark State and a Lynnwood graduate, was taken as the 322nd player by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fuller, a junior who helped lead LC State to the NAIA national title and was named NAIA Region I Player of the Year, hit .352 with 21 doubles and 50 RBI.

The Toronto Blue Jays took University of Washington catcher Matt Lane with the 330th pick. Lane, a junior from Port Angeles, hit .268 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI. Another Husky, senior outfielder Zach Clem from Burlington, was taken with the 332nd pick by Milwaukee. Clem hit .304 with 20 home runs and 53 RBI this season.

Washington State senior outfielder Jay Miller was taken in the 17th round, 517th overall, by the Philadelphia Phillies. The Bellevue native hit .361 with 28 doubles and 17 stolen bases for the Cougars. Cougars junior pitcher Mike Wagner of Woodinville was picked in the 18th round, 538th overall, by Texas. Wagner was 5-6 with a 5.67 ERA this season.

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