Draft Coverage: Profiling RHP Brad Lincoln

Brad Lincoln has led his University of Houston club this season to a top 15 ranking. Lincoln is 11-1 on the mound through 15 starts with a 1.67 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .197 off him and in 113 innings, he has struck out 141 batters. Originally drafted in the 28th round by Texas in 2003, Lincoln has soared up draft board this season, and could be the perfect pick for a team looking to draft a collegiate pitcher. Here is a scouting report on Lincoln and which club could possibly draft him!

A year ago, Lincoln posted a 4-7 record with a team-high 106 strikeouts and a 4.76 ERA in 102.0 innings of work. He became only the seventh player in school history to record at least 100 strikeouts in a single-season.

In addition to his pitching numbers, the Clute, Texas, native also was an offensive asset at the plate for the Cougars in 2005. He ended the year with a .337 batting average, seven home runs and 52 RBIs.

Lincoln pitched in the prestigious Cape Cod League this past summer where he went 3-1 on the mound with a 1.32 ERA. In fifty-four innings, he fanned fifty-six batters.

Lincoln throws a very heavy fastball that is consistently in the 92-93 MPH range. This season he has thrown his fastball up to 98 MPH, but not below 90 MPH.

"He is a pure power guy," said Coach Kirk Blount, pitching coach for the University of Houston. "His fastball has been clocked below 90 MPH just once this season – and that was at 89 MPH."

Lincoln also throws a very good curveball which is described as the "11-7" variety. His curveball has been clocked in the 78-84 MPH range, and at times has a hard and big break to it.

"He can throw all his pitches for strikes and at the same time he can throw it in the dirt and have hitters chase it. He is not scared to throw it up in the zone with two strikes either."

Lincoln has not had any arm troubles this season, and has gone to the mound every Friday night for the University of Houston. He has gone seven or eight innings every start and has allowed two runs or less, while striking out over ten batters.

"Be prepared for a 3-2 breaking ball when Brad is on the mound," said coach Blount. "He has confidence in all his pitches and will throw them at any count."

The one pitch Lincoln will need to improve after he is drafted will be his changeup. Scouts have rated it as his third best pitch because hitters have a tendency to hit it often, however, Blount does not view that as a major weakness for Lincoln.

"Brad doesn't throw his changeup often because he does not need it. He is not a big fan of it right now, because he can beat guys with his fastball. I know it will be a big pitch for him at the next level, and it will be a pitch he will have success with."

The biggest difference between Lincoln's sophomore and junior season is his ability to locate his fastball.

"His fastball has gotten better every year because he has learn to locate it better, and he now gets ahead of the batters."

Lincoln realizes the attention he is receiving but at the same time he is not letting it affect him. People close to Lincoln describe him as a laid back person who is very grounded. He loves to compete and when it's time for him to pitch he will pull down the hat and go right after guys.

"He knows that he is good, but he doesn't act like it."

If you're looking for a major league comparison for Lincoln, try Ben Sheets.

"He has a similar size on the mound, and that big breaking pitch," said Blount.

Lincoln is not walking around as the man of the campus, despite his fame. While some will get stressed out with all the hype they receive, Lincoln takes it a different way.

"He knows he has a future, that people like him, and that he will have a career in professional baseball. As a result I think it has made him more relaxed with a better peace of mind."

Lincoln also is a different breed when it comes down to his academic responsibilities. Most players that will be drafted in the first half of the first round will take it easy in their classes because they know they have a seven figure signing bonus coming their way. That is not the case with Lincoln.

"He still works his tail off in the classroom to be an ‘A' or ‘B' student. He goes to class, takes care of his assignments, goes to study hall, and all because he knows it is the right thing to do."

"If I had a daughter, Brad would be the type of guy I'd want her to marry," said Blount.

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