Cougar Under Pressure
Brad Lincoln — the former University of Houston baseball star — will make his Major League debut tonight. On the same field where Stephen Strasburg — the Washington Nationals' rock-star-in-training — changed everything about expectations on young pitchers with a 14-strikeout, no-walk performance just the night before.
And you think the shortstop who is eventually going to follow Derek Jeter will have it tough?
Lincoln doesn't even pitch for the same team as Strasburg of course. The 25-year-old Clute native is the Pittsburg Pirates' hope (with a lot less hype), the Pirates just happen to be playing the Nats at a time when the eyes of the entire baseball world are on Washington DC.
Not that Lincoln hasn't had his own impressive rise.
In the 2003, with Lincoln coming out high school, the Texas Rangers took him with in the 28th round of the draft, the time for no names. Instead of going pro, Lincoln went to the University of House. By the time his career as a Cougar was done, he'd won numerous awards including the Dick Howser Trophy, essentially the Heisman of college baseball.
Strasburg won the Dick Howser last year. Of course, he was striking seven batters out in a row, giving the Nationals a 5-2 win, less than a year later. There is a ton of buzz surrounding this feat and this player (who is only 21).
There's not so much of either on Lincoln anymore.
Lincoln struck a deal with the Pirates for $2.75 million as the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft. Shortly after, an oblique strain and Tommy John surgery (reconstruction of an elbow ligament), sidelined Lincoln for a year.
Yahoo's scouting report on Lincoln; "The right-hander was 6-2 at Triple-A Indianapolis with a 3.16 ERA and 55 Ks in 68.1 innings. He hasn't allowed a run in either of his last two starts, and really only threw one clunker this year, a six-run outing on April 30. Lincoln's curve is considered a plus-pitch; his fastball is of the typical Pirate variety."
Tonight, Lincoln gets the chance to show that his fastball is more than "Pirate" worthy. Even if it's not Starsburg-like.