Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/16/14

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 23: Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on June 23, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
I'm going to make this very simple. The x-factor for the Giants is a guy that used to be a dominant force, a two-time Cy Young winner, and last year, was just a 1.5 fWAR player at age 28. My x-factor for the San Francisco Giants in 2013 is Tim Lincecum. After Lincecum won the Cy Young in 2008 and 2009, signs immediately began to appear that he was starting to lose his mojo. His walk has risen in each year since 2009. His strikeout rate has dropped, though it's still hovering at over a batter per inning. But last year, Lincecum's struggles came to a head. His fastball velocity was a career-worst 90.4 mph. His 2.11 strikeout to walk rate was downright disappointing, finishing tied for 71st of 88 qualified starters. He also posted far and away the highest home run rate of his career. But there are still signs of brillance from Lincecum. Despite struggling with his command, Lincecum struck out 23% of the batters he faced, the same amount as Zack Greinke and more than teammates Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, as well as upper tier pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Josh Johnson, and Jake Peavy. In the second half of 2012, Lincecum got his BABIP mojo back and allowed just a .720 OPS.  Yeah, it's a bit of a copout to call a player like Tim Lincecum an x-factor. But the man had such a disappointing 2012 season, and he's been so good in the past that you have to at least entertain the option that Lincecum regains some of his previous form, be it as a starter or as a dominant, multi-inning reliever. With him approaching free agency after the season, it'll be extremely interesting to see what ends up happening with Lincecum this season. Giants on TOC End of Season Postmortem 2013 Season Preview You May Say I'm a Dreamer 2013 Burning Question This Is My Nightmare 2013 X-Factor [follow]
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Frozen Four: Providence earns first bid since 1985

Report: Discussions to bring NFL team to L.A. are progressing

Report: Chris Mullin expected to take St. John's job

Michigan State beats Louisville, punches Final Four ticket


Ex-NHL player viciously attacks opponent before game

Rick Barnes a possibility for Tennessee coaching job?

Report: NFL looking into Bill Belichick's camera ideas

Saints CB Brian Dixon arrested in Miami

CC Sabathia goes off about spring training stats

Kentucky remains unbeaten after thrilling win over ND

Adam Morrison trolled fan who made JJ Redick comment

Jim Harbaugh finished fourth in student government election

WATCH: Notre Dame gets warm reception upon return home

WATCH: Kris Letang hospitalized after hit

Aaron Rodgers, sports writer get into it over on-court access

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

Mark Few: I put Coach K up there with John Wooden

WATCH: Enes Kanter embraces boos in return to Utah

Mariners prospect dies from boat accident injuries

T.J. Ford sends heartfelt tweet about Rick Barnes

Bruins coach suits up as backup goalie

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Report: Chris Mullin to take St. John's job

Report: NFL looking into more cameras

CC Sabathia goes off about spring stats

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.