Pittsburgh Pirates: Should Brad Lincoln Have a Bigger Role?


The Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation, and pitching staff as a whole, has done a tremendous job throughout the early part on the season so far, entering play on Monday with the second best ERA in the majors at 3.15.

A guy that’s been a big part of that and often goes unnoticed is former first-round draft pick Brad Lincoln.

Lincoln seems to have found his nitch in the bullpen, entering the Monday with a 0.63 ERA in 14.1 innings out of the Pirates’ pen.

But the former No. 4 overall pick in the nation showed his ability as a starter as well in Monday’s 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins, improving his record to 3-0 on the season.

The win gave the Bucs a season high three-game win streak and pulled them within a game of .500 at 17-18.

But what should manager Clint Hurdle do with Lincoln long-term?

If he remains in the bullpen I would like to see Lincoln be given a bigger role and used in more important situations, but personally I’d like to see him used as a starter.

Sure he can fill the old role of Jeff Karstens and could pitch out of the pen and serve as a sixth starter when needed, but I feel Lincoln’s true value is in the rotation.

I’ve always been a fan of Lincoln’s and after some arm problems early in his career, he got the long-awaited call in 2010. But after some struggles initially, I don’t feel that Lincoln ever really got a fair look after that.

Eventually some tough decisions are going to need to be made when the young Pirates pitching prospects throughout the organization are deemed ready. That decision process can begin now by giving Lincoln a long look in the rotation.

He’s a much different pitcher now than what Pirates fans saw in 2010. Lincoln has much better command of the strike zone (54 of 80 pitches for strikes on the night), especially with his fastball and just throws all of his pitches with more confidence.

I’d much rather Hurdle give Lincoln the ball every fifth day than a guy like Kevin Correia.

Nothing against Correia, but there’s much more upside with a guy such as Lincoln at the moment. I would even favor Lincoln in the rotation over Karstens.

Through 162 games of the season, things tend to average out and I think you saw that last season with both Correia and Karstens. Given the choice I’d much rather have the live arm and potential of Lincoln in the rotation.

If he keeps pitching well, Hurdle is going to have to address the matter sooner, rather than later.

Hopefully he makes the right choice.

Follow City of Champions Sports on Twitter

Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter and Facebook