By Adam McGill
Not many rotations in the league have a true ace at the top of their rotation, let alone two number ones. San Francisco has two-time NL Cy Young award winner (2008 and 2009) Tim Lincecum as their number one pitcher, but the team also has the 27-year old Cain; who just signed a five-year contract extension worth $112.5 million dollars with an extra option on 2018. Ironically, the deal locked up the team’s second starter, Cain, before they locked up their true ace in Lincecum. However, it is hard to imagine the team would not sign the kid who sold more jerseys in their stadium then anyone else.
Lincecum has lead the NL in strikeouts three times over his five-year career. The “Freak” is a strikeout machine and it is odd that people consider his 220 K’s from last year a disappointment. He has amazing control over his fastball and can explode off the pitching mound. Lincecum will have a true bounce back season in 2012 and “Big Time Timmy Jim” is always a threat to reach the 300-K plateau.
Matt “Citizen” Cain is coming off a year where he posted a mediocre 12-11 record, but his lack of wins was in no part due do his performance on the mound. Cain had a lights out 2.88 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, as he went over 200 innings pitched for fifth consecutive time in his career. He is still only 27 years old and ironically almost a year younger than the aforementioned Lincecum. Cain can still post starting fantasy pitcher numbers, but comes at a much cheaper price compared to the other top-ten hurlers.
Anyone looking to win a fantasy championship must have at least one true top-tier pitcher in their rotation. Both fireballers have starting potential for the upcoming year. Lincecum may be a little better statically, but Cain has better value after the second round. As far as pitchers go for this year there are not many sure things, but these two starting pitchers are without a doubt a slam-dunk.