The Red Report: Mike Lincoln

Mike Lincoln

#57 / Pitcher / Cincinnati Reds





Apr 10, 1975

Fast Facts:

  • Michael George Lincoln was born in Carmichael, CA on April 10, 1975.  He attended Casa Roble High School in Orangevale, CA, which produced Brewers pitcher Manny Parra.
  • He initially attended American River College before moving on to the University of Tennessee, despite the obvious issues that some Southerners may have with a kid named Lincoln.
  • He was drafted each from 1993 to 1995 (twice by the Giants), but did not sign.
  • He was drafted in the 13th round of the 1996 draft by the Minnesota Twins.  His UT teammate R.A. Dickey was drafted in the first round by the Rangers with the 18th pick.  The Reds took future superstars John Oliver, no not that John Oliver, and Matt McClendon in the first round that year.
  • Lincoln had a steady rise through the minors, moving up a level each year and posting an impressive 33-8 record with a 3.01 ERA in 3 minor league seasons as a starter before making his MLB debut on April 7, 1999. 
  • Lincoln bounced back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A for each of the next 4 seasons.  He finally managed to have some success in the Majors in 2001 when the Pirates converted him to a reliever full time.  He pitched well in 2001 and 2002, but by 2003 was starting to slip, and after a poor performance in 2004 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Lincoln was shut down by Tommy John surgery.
  • He missed the entire 2005 season after the surgery, but was forced to have surgery again in 2006, missing the entirety of both the 2006 and 2007 seasons.  Also, he gets the next one free (non-transferable).
  • He signed as a free agent with the Reds on February 5, 2008 and put up a fairly pedestrian performance in the spring.
  • He made the Reds 2008 Opening Day roster because of an injury to Matt Belisle.  Red Reporters in general were confused by his roster spot, and some really brilliant minds figured he'd be the first one to go from the roster.  Somehow, he proved that smart man wrong.
  • He had streaks of hot and cold during the 2008 season. His ERA was under 3.00 for the first month, but it quickly ballooned to 7.00 by the middle of May.  After that point, he had a stretch of 27 games through the end of July where he allowed just 5 runs in 34 innings.  He had another rough patch through August and early September before closing the season out with 8 straight scoreless appearances.
  • He finished the 2008 season with a 4.48 ERA over 70.1 innings pitched.  For Mike though, he was just happy to be pitching again. I'm not sure about the guy who thinks Lincoln was the Reds' best reliever last year.

Organizational History

Drafted/Signed: Was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 13th Round of the 1996 draft.
Signed: With Pittsburgh as a free agent, February 3, 2001.
Signed: With St. Louis as a free agent, January 9, 2004.
Signed: With Cincinnati as a free agent, February 5, 2008.
GM when acquired by Reds: Wayne Krivsky

Contract Status

MLB Service Time (as of Opening Day 2009): 6.126 years (est.)
Current Contract Status: Signed a 2-year, $4 million contract on 12/4/2008.  He will make $1.5M in 2009 and $2.5M in 2010.  He has performance bonuses based on games and starts. He gets $25,000 each for reaching  45 and 50 games; $50,000 each for reaching 55 and 60 games; $100k for reaching 65 games.  If he becomes a starter, he will receive $50,000 each for reaching 12, 15, 18, 21, 23, 25, and 27 games started..

Career Stats

(BBRef | FanGraphs | THT)


Mike Lincoln
194 12 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 .083 .083 .083


Mike Lincoln
15-29 225 19 0 0 5 333.2 366 199 186 47 120 215 5.02 1.46


Pitch Repertoire

Information courtesy of Josh Kalk's player cards at

Lincoln is mainly a fastball/curveball pitcher, but he occasionally mixes in a cutter, and even less frequently a slider and a change up.  His curveball is a big breaker, but sometimes he will flatten it out a bit too much and that's when he gets hurt.  His fastball sits in the low-nineties, and he's not afraid to use either pitch against righties or lefties.  He does tend to rely on his fastball a little more when he gets behind in the count, but with two strikes he's fairly unpredictable when it comes to using either the fastball or the curveball.  According to the Pitch FX data, he resembles Homer Bailey quite a bit in the way their pitches move.

2009 Projections


3-2 45 5 16 36 4.00 1.33
55 4.68 1.37
3-4 60 8 22 47 4.42 1.37
Bill James
3-4 63 8 22 48 4.13 1.35

RR Projected Wins Above Replacement:  0.08


This hot zone graph is modified for pitchers.  The notes are at the bottom, but the easy way to read it is that darker areas are areas that the pitcher pitches too most often.  And the cooler the color is, the better the hit type (from the pitcher's perspective).  So, blue is best because those are areas of low contact.  Green is next best because those are batted ball types that tend to be good for the pitcher (ground balls, pop flies).  Red is the worst because those types of hits tend to hurt the pitcher the most.  Slugging percentage is still listed as well to give you a better idea of the overall results from that zone.

All Pitches | vs. RHB | vs. LHB
Fastball vs. RHB | Curveball vs. RHB
Fastball vs. LHB | Curveball vs. LHB

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