- Full name Brad Eric Lincoln
- Born 05/25/1985 in Lake Jackson, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Houston
- Debut 06/09/2010
Drafted in the 1st round (4th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006 (signed for $2,750,000).
View Draft ReportAlways a talented two-way player, Lincoln began building momentum as a possible 2006 first-rounder with a breakout performance in the Cape Cod League last summer. He has continued improving and made himself a candidate to go to the Royals with the No. 1 overall pick. Lincoln raised his arm slot while on the Cape and became more confident challenging hitters. He's throwing more downhill, making his size (6 feet) less of an issue, and locating his pitches better in the strike zone. He sits at 91-93 mph with good life on his fastball, touches 95-96 most games and has peaked at 98. He holds that velocity throughout games. His curveball is equally as impressive, and he can throw it for strikes or break it out of the zone as a chase pitch. He also shows feel for a changeup that's close to an average pitch already. Lincoln is close to big league ready and his competitive makeup means he'll get everything out of his considerable ability. A lefthanded hitter with power to all fields, Lincoln led the Cougars in RBIs as a first baseman/DH. He conceivably could move to third base or the outfield as a pro, but he's too good on the mound to consider that option.
Organization Prospect Rankings
After signing for $2.75 million as the fourth overall pick in 2006, Lincoln became yet another Pirates first-rounder who has been derailed by arm problems. But after losing 2007 to Tommy John surgery and using 2008 to rebuild his arm strength, he came back strong last season. Lincoln exceeded his previous career total by working 136 innings while reaching Triple-A, pitched in the Futures Game and won the gold-medal game for Team USA at September's World Cup. Lincoln has two plus pitches, a 90-93 mph fastball that reaches 95 with good late life and a curveball that breaks big and late. He's a fierce competitor who aggressively attacks both sides of the plate and wants the ball in big situations. A two-way star in college, he batted .308 last season. Lincoln's changeup is improving but still needs work. He challenges hitters too much at times, which made him prone to extra-base hits once he reached Triple-A, and he can be susceptible to home runs as well. Though he won six of his 12 starts at Indianapolis, Lincoln needs to return there to add some finishing touches to his game. He was added to the 40-man roster and should be in Pittsburgh by midseason. He will eventually settle in as a No. 3 starter, perhaps even a No. 2.
The fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, Lincoln signed for $2.75 million. He needed Tommy John surgery the following April, joining a long list of Pirates first-round picks to suffer a major arm injury. After missing the entire 2007 season, he came back last year and made 19 starts without any problems. Lincoln has two plus pitches in a 90-93 mph fastball that touches 95 and a power curveball that he can either bury in the strike zone or make hitters chase. A good athlete who was an excellent hitter in college, he has no problem throwing stirkes. He's an outstanding competitor who relishes challenging hitters. Lincoln isn't very tall and at times he has to fight to keep his arm slot high and throw his pitches on a downhill plane. He tends to catch too much of the strike zone at times, making him susceptible to home runs. His changeup isn't as effective as his other pitches and needs more consistency. The Pirates believe Lincoln is close to major league-ready and will send him to Double-A. He could be in their Opening Day rotation in 2010 and should eventually settle in as a No. 2 or 3 starter.
The Pirates were happy to get Lincoln with the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, but after he signed for $2.75 million, he worked just 24 innings in his pro debut because of an oblique injury. The medical news got worse in 2007, as he followed in the footsteps of recent Pirates first-round pitchers in needing major arm surgery. He had Tommy John surgery in April. Before he got hurt, Lincoln had a four-seam fastball that routinely sat at 92-94 mph and topped out at 98, as well as a two-seamer with plus sink. He also had a hard curveball that many scouts graded as his best pitch. He's aggressive and willing to challenge hitters. A two-way star in college, he is a better athlete and hitter than most pitchers. Lincoln's changeup has good sink, but he has trouble commanding it at times. Though the track record of Tommy John survivors is encouraging, he won't arrive in Pittsburgh as fast as the team hoped. The Pirates projected Lincoln as a possible No. 1 starter before he got hurt, and they'll be cautious with his comeback. He was throwing at distances of up to 150 feet by the end of instructional league and was on course to begin working off a mound in January.
Lincoln was the Conference USA player of the year in 2006, when he went 12-2, 1.69 and hit .295 with 14 homers as a first baseman/DH. He went fourth overall in the draft and signed for $2.75 million, but he was limited in his pro debut and instructional league by a strained right oblique. Lincoln's fastball sits at 92-93 mph and touches 97, breaking bats with its boring action. He also has a two-seam, 88-91 mph version that induces grounders. His hard curveball may be a better pitch than his fastball, but he commands them both well. Though he's just 6 feet tall, he does a good job of throwing downhill. As a hitter, he has more raw power than almost any Pirates farmhand. His biggest need is to gain more consistency with his changeup, which should come as he uses it more often in pro ball. It should become an average pitch. His velocity was down in his pro debut, but that was likely just the combination of fatigue after pulling double duty in college and his oblique injury. The Pirates usually downplay their draft picks, but they believe Lincoln could be a No. 1 starter. He likely will begin 2007 at high Class A Lynchburg with an eye on making his major league debut no later than 2008.
Minor League Top Prospects
Lincoln went 6-2, 3.16 in his first 11 starts this year to earn a promotion to Pittsburgh for the first time. He got hammered in the majors, however, and won just once after being sent back to Indianapolis in late July. Lincoln has regained his stuff since having Tommy John surgery in 2007. His fastball sits comfortably at 92-95 mph and he also has a big-breaking curveball. He isn't afraid to challenge hitters, sometimes to a fault, and needs to improve his changeup and have more faith in it to succeed when he returns to the majors. "Lincoln's got pretty good stuff, especially a good, live fastball," Parrish said. "He pitches in and out very well, and he has a hard breaking ball."
Lincoln and Drabek were both in the state of Texas in the 2006 draft class. While Lincoln is three years older, he has many similarities to Drabek in that both are athletic, have shorter, strong bodies and have had Tommy John surgery. Lincoln showed he's healthy by pitching 136 innings overall, then pitching well in Europe for Team USA. He pitched 23 innings overall and got the win in the gold-medal game against Cuba. Two years removed from TJ, Lincoln threw more strikes this year and stood out with command of a fastball that touched 95 mph and sat at 90-93 mph. He threw quality strikes to both corners and showed the late life that allowed him to get swings and misses in the strike zone with fastballs. "He pitched inside for effect and for strikes," Walbeck said, "and his fastball and his curveball both have that little extra, that late life." A National League scout said Lincoln's power curveball isn't quite what it was when he was an amateur, but it's still a plus pitch at times. His changeup is his third pitch but has made strides.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Curveball in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010
- Rated Best Breaking Pitch in the Eastern League in 2009
- Rated Best Curveball in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009
- Rated Best Curveball in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007
- Rated Best Fastball in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007