I personally like the differing views on what the title of the thread means. Personally I took the question as drafting Lincecum in relation to other pitchers, but that's just my take. I also look at it in terms of a 5x5 re-draft league, since there aren't specifications stating otherwise.
Looking at the question from how I view it, I'd say I'd take the top 10 pitchers in this order, ranked in tiers just to show how I value the pitchers around Lincecum as well.
I'll add notes with the pitchers as well.
Tier 1 (I could see arguments for any of the tier 1 pitchers going before Lincecum)
1- Johan Santana: Considering he's having a "down year" of sorts by his standards, his numbers are still sparkling. This is his first year in a new league, and though I would have expected his K rate to go up, and it instead took a nose dive in the other direction, he still struck out 187 batters, and should break the 200 threshhold. If his k-rate returns next year, he's the number one pitcher I think, and I feel he's the safest bet to yield top 3 pitching stats, so I'll take the safe route and go Santana 1.
2- Tim Lincecum: If Peavy hadn't missed time this season, he'd probably be nestled in at the number 2 spot, however, that's not the case. Lincecum, with another start, should break the 250 strike out mark this year, nothing short ace material. He pitches in an equally pitcher friendly ballpark to PETCO, and oddly enough may have a better supporting cast (if nothing else, younger and improving, hopefully improving as I'm a Giants fan
). He didn't miss time this year, and there are no signs of arm/shoulder problems, I'll give him a slight nod since he's a bit younger, and may actually have a higher ceiling as he's making his way toward his peak years.
3- Jake Peavy: Gotta love his consistancy. Also have to love his ballpark. He's striking out about a batter an IP, and his ERA is below 3.00 again. His WHIP is fantastic and right in line with his career WHIP. Just assuming he posts career averages, he'll post ace stuff, and is a relatively safe bet to post top 5 pitching numbers. The only potential red flag is the time he missed earlier this season, though he's shown no lingering effects since.
4- Dan Haren: I think he's a tier 1 starter, and better then teammate Brandon Webb, and super stud this year C.C. Sabathia. This may throw some people a loop, but he's made a seamless and better transition to the NL, I'd argue, then Johan Santana even. He's struck out 193 batters in 203 IP which is a career best rate. He's done a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark (odd considering he's coming to Arizona which has a much more hitter friendly ballpark then Oakland), and he's walking no one. His WHIP is first rate, and his 3.24 ERA is also very good.
5- Brandon Webb: He's a workhorse, that's for certain, he relies on his power sinker to keep pitch counts low and record outs. Unlike some sinker ballers he k's his share of hitters though (170 in 212 IP). I gave the nod to Haren because of his lower whip and better k-rate. Webb isn't far behind, but I just don't see his ceiling being quite as high as that of Haren.
6- C.C. Sabathia: He would likely at least be in front of both Webb and Haren if not for my fear of the Brewers complete abuse of C.C. His pitch counts have been pretty bad, and the Brewers are reaping the benefits of a work horse who they don't have to be concerned with staying healthy next year. Sure, the argument can be made for Lincecum being overused, but Lincecum also don't have the wear on his tires of 241 Inning season in 2007 and a number of near 200 IP seasons prior to that. As I've said before, pitching is not a natural motion, and that type of mileage, coupled with overusage by the Brewers makes me a little nervous. I also don't like the idea of not knowing where he'll be next year, and how he'll react to getting paid. I almost dumped him to tier 2 because of these concerns, but a simple look at his numbers wouldn't allow me to do such an absurd thing
7- Cole Hamels: Nearly makes tier 1, but has seen a k-rate drop, and pitches in a miserable home ballpark, and though it's something he can't control, is a fact none-the-less. He's also the first pitcher I couldn't see an argument for taking over Lincecum. The fact is, he's young and seeing a spike in IP this year as well, and simply doesn't possess the k-rate Lincecum does or the home ballpark.
..... So I've changed my mind, I don't want to divulge too far from the topic of the Lincecum thread (besides... ranking the top 10 pitchers for next year is too tough past this right now
I included the other pitchers, not to create other debates, but more or less to show how Tim Lincecum fits into my ranking of ace pitchers, and why I have him where I do. That said, I think arguments could be made for other pitchers, this is just my take. Without looking at whether I'd draft a pitcher early enough to get any of the above pitchers, and looking at it in a bit of a bubble assuming everyone had to take a pitcher the same round, this is the order I'd select them in.