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Kershaw or Lincecum?

Clayton Kershaw vs. Tim Lincecum. My fellow Cave Dwellers and I have been debating the topic a lot this week, and I wanted to get my thoughts down on paper as it is a topic close to my heart. Being a Giants fan, it is a subject that requires me to put my bias away. Having watched the NL West so closely over the past few years, I know both pitchers well. I have watched them grow into the aces they are, and I have either feared, or felt the fear of the opposing team, as they approach the mound. But I am not here to tell you how I feel. I am here to tell you why one is better than the other. A daunting task, indeed.

While racking my brain with this question, I first turned to compare the stats. (Side note: stats to me don't mean all that much. You could be ok on paper, but have astounding talent. I have witnessed Matt Cain get zero credit for incredible stuff, because of no run support. It is frustrating to say the least.) Ok, back to the story; the stats are ridiculous. I know these two are crazy awesome, but they are similar to the decimal. So what would make one better than the other? What qualities do you look for in a great pitcher? How do you differentiate a career year vs a mini dynasty? As a fan, I look for two things, team leadership, and the ability to evolve.

Kershaw just may be the Kryptonite of the Giants. I can only give him a ton of respect, besides the deep rivalry that dwells in my very soul. Last year, he was lights out against San Francisco, and unfortunately the Giants see him very often. Between Kershaw and Kemp, the Dodgers have two of baseball's best players, and also amazing leaders. I've talked to many Dodgers fans in my day, and every single one gets red in the face to defend their stars. Kershaw, as you may know as last year's Cy Young winner, has given hope and leadership to a team with, quite frankly, no leader. He made enough noise, that despite being on a team that did not contend, and in the land where great pitching is everywhere, he was the best in the N.L. As far as his ability to evolve, I think he will be able to, but I'm not sure. Kershaw is very young, but he has grown so much in his few seasons. Do I think he has topped himself after 2011? I would love to say yes, especially for the sake of the Giants' win column, but we all know he will grow into an even greater competitor. It looks like the sky is the limit for this kid.

Lincecum has his nicknames for a reason. The Freak, as they call him, is unlike any pitcher in the game. In the baseball books, Lincecum should not exist. Lincecum couldn't have come in to the bigs at a more perfect time. As Barry Bonds was leaving the city, Tim came in, keeping a franchise player on the the Giants team and hope alive for possible Postseason contention. The media attention alone for the unorthodox pitcher was enough to hold the city together. Luckily for the team, he over exceeded the hype, and won not only one, but back-to-back Cy Young awards. Although most will argue that Lincecum will not be able to evolve, due to strict contract rules, I must disagree. In August 2010, when Lincecum was having a horrible month, he quickly added a new pitch to his arsenal, that took the team to the World Series. How fast he had perfected the pitch was astounding, and proved that he can move with the times.

Both pitchers are phenomenal, and any team will go to great lengths to have either. Their stats are amazing, and they both have been honored for it, despite being in a division that does not get too much attention. It was tough to sit down and really decide, but I think I have my answer, and it was seriously close, I mean crazy close. But, with a city who follows his every move, a World Series ring, and back to back Cy Youngs, I think the BBWAA would agree with me: Tim Lincecum is the better of the two.

Who would you take? Tweet your pick @smashleychavez and @MLBFanCave.

Clayton Kershaw vs. Tim Lincecum. My fellow Cave Dwellers and I have been debating the topic a lot this week, and I wanted to get my thoughts down on paper as it is a topic close to my heart. Being a Giants fan, it is a subject that requires me to put my bias away. Having watched the NL West so closely over the past few years, I know both pitchers well. I have watched them grow into the aces they are, and I have either feared, or felt the fear of the opposing team, as they approach the mound. But I am not here to tell you how I feel. I am here to tell you why one is better than the other. A daunting task, indeed.

While racking my brain with this question, I first turned to compare the stats. (Side note: stats to me don't mean all that much. You could be ok on paper, but have astounding talent. I have witnessed Matt Cain get zero credit for incredible stuff, because of no run support. It is frustrating to say the least.) Ok, back to the story; the stats are ridiculous. I know these two are crazy awesome, but they are similar to the decimal. So what would make one better than the other? What qualities do you look for in a great pitcher? How do you differentiate a career year vs a mini dynasty? As a fan, I look for two things, team leadership, and the ability to evolve.

Kershaw just may be the Kryptonite of the Giants. I can only give him a ton of respect, besides the deep rivalry that dwells in my very soul. Last year, he was lights out against San Francisco, and unfortunately the Giants see him very often. Between Kershaw and Kemp, the Dodgers have two of baseball's best players, and also amazing leaders. I've talked to many Dodgers fans in my day, and every single one gets red in the face to defend their stars. Kershaw, as you may know as last year's Cy Young winner, has given hope and leadership to a team with, quite frankly, no leader. He made enough noise, that despite being on a team that did not contend, and in the land where great pitching is everywhere, he was the best in the N.L. As far as his ability to evolve, I think he will be able to, but I'm not sure. Kershaw is very young, but he has grown so much in his few seasons. Do I think he has topped himself after 2011? I would love to say yes, especially for the sake of the Giants' win column, but we all know he will grow into an even greater competitor. It looks like the sky is the limit for this kid.

Lincecum has his nicknames for a reason. The Freak, as they call him, is unlike any pitcher in the game. In the baseball books, Lincecum should not exist. Lincecum couldn't have come in to the bigs at a more perfect time. As Barry Bonds was leaving the city, Tim came in, keeping a franchise player on the the Giants team and hope alive for possible Postseason contention. The media attention alone for the unorthodox pitcher was enough to hold the city together. Luckily for the team, he over exceeded the hype, and won not only one, but back-to-back Cy Young awards. Although most will argue that Lincecum will not be able to evolve, due to strict contract rules, I must disagree. In August 2010, when Lincecum was having a horrible month, he quickly added a new pitch to his arsenal, that took the team to the World Series. How fast he had perfected the pitch was astounding, and proved that he can move with the times.

Both pitchers are phenomenal, and any team will go to great lengths to have either. Their stats are amazing, and they both have been honored for it, despite being in a division that does not get too much attention. It was tough to sit down and really decide, but I think I have my answer, and it was seriously close, I mean crazy close. But, with a city who follows his every move, a World Series ring, and back to back Cy Youngs, I think the BBWAA would agree with me: Tim Lincecum is the better of the two.

Who would you take? Tweet your pick @smashleychavez and @MLBFanCave.