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  1. It seems pretty logical that a pitcher’s velocity would decline with age, but how common is the rate at which Lincecum’s has dropped? Are there any comparisons, and what, if anything, have other pitchers in this situation done to cope?

    Comment by Ayuh — April 12, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  2. Could it be a sign that something’s wrong with his elbow?

    Comment by lonewolf371 — April 12, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  3. Same with King Felix. Both Tim and Felix are going to have to rely much more on pitch location with diminished velocity. I don’t think we’ll ever see the really dominant Lincecum again but he can still bounce back and be a very good pitcher. Tim has had his struggles before and always comeback strong. I just hope for his sake that an injury isn’t the underlying problem.

    Comment by A-Rod — April 12, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  4. #inbeforesmallsamplesize

    Comment by CJ — April 12, 2012 @ 9:14 am

  5. In all seriousness though, this sort of thing makes me sort of upset that a lot of analysis on MLB is wracked with selection bias. We have imperfect information on what Lincecum could be like if he fell to, say, 88mph, since guys who throw that very rarely make it to MLB in the first place.

    Comment by CJ — April 12, 2012 @ 9:17 am

  6. The sample for this season is small, but every year since his rookie year there have been articles (much like this one) about his dropping velocity. If velocity is important in pitching, then we know enough to know there may be a problem upcoming for Lincecum.

    Comment by Ayuh — April 12, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  7. I’m not sure the study you cite about velocity “stabilizing” after one start is the most appropriate. That study looks at 25 pitchers in their first start back from the DL and then their 3rd start. It basically shows that pitchers throw enough fastballs in a start that there isn’t meaningful sampling error in the measurement. This isn’t what you are asking with respect to Lincecum. We aren’t asking whether we are measuring his velocity well, we are asking whether we can reasonably expect him to improve his performance. The proper study would look at velocity as a trend across the season for all starting pitchers. It would not be restricted to pitchers coming off the DL and it would not be restricted to two starts.

    I am not suggesting that the results would be different. I’m just pointing out that it would be worth knowing since your question and the the study you used to answer it aren’t quite the same.

    Comment by Jason — April 12, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  8. I’m with you, ARod. This all seems really familiar with Lincecum and I’m of the opinion that he’ll likely adjust and bounce back as he’s done when in somewhat extended funks in the past couple years. I think the possibility of bringing his SL back is one that will likely be considered too.

    Comment by Stan Gable — April 12, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  9. Excuse my ignorance, but could someone explain why Lincecum’s SIERA and xFIP numbers are excellent? Can they believed after two starts?

    Comment by Kevin — April 12, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  10. It’s a mechanical issue. There’s no denying his velocity isn’t what it was when he first came into the league, but his fastball was operating in the 91-93 range according to the radar readings being displayed on tv (I watched the entire painful game). His average velocity was 92.4 in 2009 which was his best season, statistically, so I don’t think velocity is his problem. He’s struggling with his release point and leaving too many balls over the plate.

    Oh, and he had 3 k’s in 2.2 innings last night, not one as you stated above. He has 10 k’s in 8 innings on the season and is still getting plenty of swings and misses. Let’s not forget his first two starts were in the best hitter’s parks in the NL. He was also a victim (to some degree) of bad luck/bad defense last night. Plenty of bloop singles, a double over the 3B bag that Sandoval barely missed, and infield swinging bunt single and two passed balls credited to Hector Sanchez.

    Let’s give it some time before jumping off the bridge.

    Comment by PeteVenkman — April 12, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  11. Too much weed #420lyfe

    Comment by deadeyerr — April 12, 2012 @ 10:23 am

  12. If you didn’t know the pitcher’s name and just saw the following:
    K/9 = 11.74
    BB/9 = 3.52
    BABIP = .444
    HR/FB = 28.6%

    …wouldn’t you just assume he’s gotten really unlucky?

    Comment by Danny — April 12, 2012 @ 10:25 am

  13. According to the Zimmerman article you cite, change in velocity has a 68% confidence interval of (plus or minus) .8 mph. Assuming a symmetric distribution, this implies that a full 16% of pitchers will have their velocity increase by more than .8 mph. You wrote that a .8 mph increase would be the “maximum,” thus misconstruing the first article.

    Comment by Peter — April 12, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  14. Hi there.

    Comment by Scott Kazmir — April 12, 2012 @ 10:35 am

  15. Now that’s just mean, Scott.

    Comment by gobears — April 12, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  16. Truth

    Comment by adohaj — April 12, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  17. lets hope his career goes better than dontrelle willis’s

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 12, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  18. dont look at k/9. his k% is down for the 4th straight season.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 12, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  19. I really enjoyed the “Whats wrong with?” series of articles, any hope of those making a comeback this season?

    Comment by j6takish — April 12, 2012 @ 11:09 am

  20. Loss of pitch command is a sign of elbow problems. Loss of velocity is a sign of shoulder problems.

    Comment by ThisIsBaseball — April 12, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  21. It is not uncommon for pitchers to begin dreadfully. Through 4 starts in 2008 CC Sabathia had the following stats. 18 innings pitched, 22 hits allowed, 14 walks allowed and 27 earned runs. People were wringing their hands and wondering whether CC was injured or done as a pitcher. However, we all know how he went from there – he put up one of the finest seasons a pitcher has pitched after that point.

    Comment by KB — April 12, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  22. K% is influenced by the fact that he has a BABIP of .444. If his BABIP was closer to .300 he would have faced about 5 less batters which would increase his K% to 27.0% this year.

    In any event 7.2 innings is way too small a sample to draw any conclusions, especially when all of those innings were pitched in Chase and Coors fields.

    His career swinging strike% is 11.0% and it was 10.7% last year and 10.0% so far this year.

    Supposedly, Lincecum is not throwing his slider yet PitchFx shows a 21.8% slider rate.

    Comment by PeteVenkman — April 12, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  23. I was concerned last year when the pitching staff, not just Timmy, was forced to work extra hard after Buster went out. It may be a result of over worked and over exposed.

    Comment by FredMertz65 — April 12, 2012 @ 11:25 am

  24. Not sure on SIERA, but xFIP is adjusting his Home Run rate to a more normal number. Even a washed up replacement level pitcher couldn’t give up home runs at his current pace over a whole season.

    Comment by Franco — April 12, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  25. your k% argument is confusing. what does his BABIP have to do with his k%? its a statistic that measures how many PAs end with a strikeout. of course if his BABIP is lower he faces less batters, but thats also less chances he has to get a strikeout. maybe im misunderstanding what you’re saying but its not making sense to me.

    also, chase and coors fields shouldn’t be a factor in his K/BB numbers

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 12, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  26. Despite San Fran being an “old school” front office, this kind of data make it unsurprising that he has not been extended but Cain has.

    Comment by DD — April 12, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  27. “Lincecum ain’t broke, he just needs to toke.”
    Says the fantasy owner looking for a positive take…
    “Two starts in Arizona and Colorado, do not a season make.”
    “The rate stats provide an optimistic viewpoint…”
    Which sets up nicely for the punchline, involving the word “joint”.

    Comment by the hottest stove — April 12, 2012 @ 11:39 am

  28. This is what I saw as well. He also was not comfortable pitching to Sanchez. He was clearly shaking Sanchez off on every AB.

    I think Tim’s biggest problem is in his head. With the exception of the 2010 world series he often gets too pumped for big games and then overthrows his off speed stuff.

    I do think scrapping his slider is a mistake. I think he may be shelving it until later in the season.

    Comment by Iggyfenton — April 12, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  29. The Giants wanted to lock him up long term, but Tim wants to keep his options open. I think he wants the ability to move on if the Giants ever try to rebuild.

    Comment by Iggyfenton — April 12, 2012 @ 11:45 am

  30. I think I hurt his feelings last year beating him 4 out of 4. Sorry Tim

    Comment by Clayton Kershaw — April 12, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  31. K% = K’s / Total Batters Faced.

    If he wasn’t getting so unlucky on BABIP, his Total Batter Faced would be lower as some of those batted balls would have been inplay outs. So, instead of 10/42 (24%) it would have been 10/37 (27%) if you assume 5 of those hits went for outs.

    I derived the 5 less hits by taking 14 hits allowed * .300/.444 = 9.5. I guess it could be rounded to 10 hits but that’s splitting hairs.

    Comment by PeteVenkman — April 12, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  32. Pete, those 5 extra outs in the field would likely take away some of his strikeouts too. You can’t just keep all his Ks if he’s facing fewer batters.

    Comment by Justin — April 12, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  33. 2 words Tommy John

    Comment by 4UBlue — April 12, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  34. But Pete, if those hits turn into outs, there are less opportunities for him to K a player. K% doesn’t get affected by BABIP, but K/9 does, as he faces more hitters in an inning, thus more opportunity for a strikeout.

    You can’t simply still give him credit for his 10 Ks while reducing his number of hits and changing them to outs. Going back in your scenario, removing five hits and changing them to outs, a hypothetical inning could be this – hit, hit, hit, K, K, K. By removing those three hits and changing them to outs, Timmy would also lose those three Ks.

    Comment by Brandon — April 12, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  35. Good point, but it depends on the sequence of events. If all his K’s occurred prior to the hits being allowed, then you wouldn’t take any of them away. However, if he picked up extra K’s as a result of unlicky BABIP then you have to adjust.

    The posters original statement that TL’s K rate has dropped four straight years isn’t accurate. It dropped in 2010 and 2011 but it would foolish to include 2012 based on 8.2 innings.

    In any event a K% north of 25% and a K/9 over 9.00 is still in the top five in baseball. We can’t penalize Lincecum based on the fact that he’s not matching his back-to-back Cy Young years statistically. That would be holding him to a higher standard than any pitcher in the game.

    Comment by PeteVenkman — April 12, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

  36. Another reason the sample is so small is because he’s been so awful.

    Comment by Deelron — April 12, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  37. While the velocity drop is pretty bad his location ( just from watching the games) has seemed to be even worse, much of the damage has been done on pitches up in the zone.

    Comment by Deelron — April 12, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  38. I’m more concerned about his non-use of the slider and his stated reason for it than any small sample size flukes.

    He has a very unusual delivery that requires everything to be synchronized. Right now he’s struggling with his mechanics which affects everythign we’re talking about from velocity to K/9, to K%, to batted ball data.

    Comment by PeteVenkman — April 12, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  39. The change up is really a splitter. Batters are recognizing it earlier and laying off. Since it ends up in the dirt by design, it ends up as harmless called ball. That forces him to come into the strike zone with a not-so-great fastball the hitter knows is coming.

    Timmy needs another pitch. If he’s uncomfortable with the slider, what about a cutter which seems to be easier to learn, throw and command?

    Timmy also needs to get over himself with Sanchez catching. With the lack of success he’s having with the pitches HE wants to throw, what’s the harm in going with what Sanchez wants. Hey, it worked for Zito!

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — April 12, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  40. “A pitcher’s velocity is declining, and he might suffer because of it” #analysis #teamsabr

    Comment by John — April 12, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  41. Man, I could have just written that and saved myself a ton of time.

    Comment by Chris Cwik — April 12, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  42. If he faces extra batters because he is unlucky, you have to apply his K% to those extra batters to determine the theoretical outcome. Thus, if Lincecum has a 10-K%, and he faces 5 extra batters, you would expect to see 0.5Ks, which would leave his K% at 10%.

    Obviously in real life, 0.5Ks is impossible. You would probably see 0 or 1 K, which with a SSS could cause a change of about 1%.

    Comment by Cozar — April 12, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

  43. I agree, he has gone through these bad performances before and bounced back. I didn’t think he looked “confident”. Did anyone notice that Brian Wilson looked a lot thinner this year?

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — April 12, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

  44. If you ask Timmy (which everyone has), he’ll say it’s command and that he’s leaving too many pitches up in the zone. He’s never been a great command guy, so the combination (lower velocity, less separation between his fastball/change, no sliders, leaving balls up) is killing him. What adjustments can he make? Well, since there’s no easy way to regain the velocity, he’d better learn how to command the pitches he has left. And quick.

    Comment by fergie348 — April 12, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  45. In 2009 through 2 starts Timmy had an era of 7.56, giving up 14 hits and 6 walks in 8.1 innings, looking really bad as he did it. At the end of that season they gave him something called… let me double check this… a Cy Young award? I don’t know what that is, but it sounds pretty good.
    1) sample size
    2) weird stuff happens in the first week of the season.
    I won’t be even slightly worried unless he continues to struggle for another 2-3 starts.

    Comment by Brendan — April 12, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  46. We have imperfect information on what Lincecum could be like if he fell to, say, 88mph, since guys who throw that very rarely make it to MLB in the first place

    Doesn’t the subordinate clause kind of answer the first part of your sentence?

    Comment by Steve Balboni — April 12, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  47. Furthermore, isn’t there a fundamental difference between the beginning of the year and a return from a DL stint? I know I’m falling prey to sampling bias myself here, but I bet I could name at least half a dozen pitchers just in the first week of this season who increased their velocity by at least 1 MPH over their first two starts.

    Comment by deadpool — April 12, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  48. I love these cherry-picked sample sizes of 1.

    Comment by Baltar — April 12, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  49. Wait. That article you linked to by Jeff Zimmerman is about pitchers returning from the DL. Unless I missed something, Lincecum is NOT returning from the DL. So why are you linking to that article since its results have nothing to do with Lincecum? We have no study about velocity stabilizing after it drops for non-injury-related reasons, do we? What is the point of this article? Is it saying that he’s injured? Then why the back-asswards use of the Zimmerman article?

    Comment by Piehole of David Wells — April 12, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  50. for big time timmy jim

    Comment by DD — April 12, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  51. The point here, though, isn’t really about good pitchers having bad starts to begin the year. It’s about the fairly dramatic drop in his velocity and the degree to which it builds on previous drops in Lincecum’s velocity and the decision to scrap the slider. There’s a case being built here that something’s wrong and that goes beyond, “he had a bad couple of starts.”

    Comment by chuckb — April 12, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  52. Another cherry-picked study with a sample size of 1.

    Comment by Baltar — April 12, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  53. true dat. he’s my best customer.

    Comment by Cheech — April 12, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  54. This canned retort worked better on the CC comment. But when we’re talking about literally the same player…the whole “cherry-picked” criticism stings a little less. Picking random players is one thing. But this comment is pointing out that Lincecum has struggled to start a season before, and faced many of the same sky-is-falling proclamations before.
    Put another way…in 25% of his previous full seasons he has begun this way, and put together a pretty decent career so far.
    Not to mention, your ‘Tim is done’ defense rests on two “cherry-picked” starts.
    I don’t care about Timmy…as a Colorado baseball fan I loved last night, and wouldn’t mind a down year from Lincecum…but you’re smug “argumentation” is immensley flawed here.

    Comment by KDL — April 12, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  55. Pitchers with less than ideal velo don’t make it to the major mostly because clubs are generally not bullish on them.
    Some of the “crafty” pitchers post eye-popping numbers in the minor but received little to no hype and only make it to the major when injury occurs AND no “projectible pitchers with big fastball” around(that is unless the said pitcher is a crafty southpaw; throwing left-handed changes everything).

    Comment by kampfer — April 12, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  56. I wonder what would happen if he were shifted to the bullpen. I know he has always had a lot of value as a starter since he was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball but if he cannot get his velocity to come back, may affect his fastball speed. How many times have we heard of pitchers gaining an extra MPH or two? I wonder if he would gain a lot more than normal because of a move? However, that’s only if his is no longer a decent starter.

    Comment by Thurston24 — April 12, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  57. This.

    Comment by Nolan — April 12, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  58. Is this where I just blurt out same half-ass, crocked-up guess at what’s wrong with TL55 … and then we all forget about it after the weekend?

    What’s wrong with TL55? We keep comparing him to his 95mph 8 WAR self, for starters.

    Didn’t I read an article here at FG that showed that SP’s velocity declines steadily with age? Now that TL55 is doing just that, we’re asking “What’s Wrong?”

    I read at FG about TL55’s demise a couple of years ago. Turned out to be premature.

    TL55 started out with an incredibly high K-rate for a young pitcher throwing 200+ IP. As he’s aged a bit, the velocity and K-Rate are down some, but the GB rate is up. It would not surprise me at all to learn that 75+% of young hard-throwers follow the same pattern.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 12, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  59. While I think it’s never too early to think about something like a pitcher’s velocity, I have to say that the level of concern expressed in this article seems excessive. When I look at the velocity chart and Lincecum’s peripherals so far over 2 starts, I see the following:

    * An average fastball velocity a bit below his 2011 average, but with all fastballs still clustered within the bounds his 2011 velocity distribution
    * 23.8% strikeout rate supported by a 10% swinging strike rate
    * 7.1% walk rate
    * 53.6% groundball rate

    In other words, if you looked at his peripherals and not his ERA, you would see nothing to be alarmed about. As for his fastball velocity, yes it has been almost 2 MPH slower on average than in 2011. However it is only 1 MPH slower than his 2010 average velocity (91.2), and his 2010 performance was better than 2011 by every metric other than ERA. This puts his 2012 velocity within 1 std. dev. of his 2010 velocity based on the study the author himself cites, which others have already pointed out is largely inapplicable anyway.

    Lincecum could pitch great again this year. Or his arm could fall off tomorrow. Or he could suddenly morph into a league average pitcher without ever showing any obvious sign of injury. Or he could develop the yips, retire and become point guard for the Knicks. But I don’t see anything in his first two starts that makes me think he is likely to do anything other than be his 2010-11 self in 2012.

    Time will tell. We must try our best to be patient through National Overreaction Month.

    Comment by mcbrown — April 12, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

  60. When was the last time a Cy Young award-winning starter was converted to being a reliever just three years removed from last winning the award? And has it ever happened to a pitcher while still under the age of 30?

    Comment by Bip — April 12, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  61. Quality post

    Comment by Bip — April 12, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  62. John Smoltz won the Cy in 1996, and was in the bullpen by 2001. That’s the closest I can think of.

    Comment by Feeding the Abscess — April 12, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

  63. Just throwing this out there but maybe all the talk when he was drafted about him being too small to be a starter is coming true. He’s thrown a lot of pitches in the majors and I can’t recall anyone having such a large drop in velocity to begin their career. He may have altered his approach to get more ground balls but obviously more than 8 innings over two starts are needed

    Comment by ENE for ME — April 12, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

  64. Jason – if you have an opportunity, could you check out my post in the forums section?

    Comment by Big Oil — April 13, 2012 @ 12:29 am

  65. Pete – any interest?

    Comment by Big Oil — April 13, 2012 @ 12:29 am

  66. I read here often, and you seem to have an interest in this type of analysis. For some reason I think you may already write somewhere else, but if not, check out my post in the forums if you’re able:

    Comment by Big Oil — April 13, 2012 @ 12:32 am

  67. Agree with Bip. Would you consider the following?

    Comment by Big Oil — April 13, 2012 @ 12:33 am

  68. The sad part is that you just hurt yourself saying, “Hi.”

    Comment by E-Dub — April 13, 2012 @ 12:42 am

  69. Faygit.

    Comment by wat — April 13, 2012 @ 3:30 am

  70. Yeah you stupid fuck Balcunt.

    Comment by watwat — April 13, 2012 @ 3:32 am

  71. There’s a post over at The Book Blog (sourced from Jason at BP) that in order to take Starter McAverage and gain from turning him into a reliever; you need him to either pitch in high leverage or get a LOT better in the bullpen.

    Pretty much every pitcher in MLB is a better short reliever than starter, so just “get better” isn’t good enough. You need the guy to be a closer, and to give up runs at a 60% of the rate he gives them up as a starter.

    It’s rare that a guy does this. I’d imagine it’d happen only if he’s massively deceptive, or maybe if he’s unhittable but really prone to fatigue.

    Comment by CJ — April 13, 2012 @ 4:11 am

  72. He has to mix a slider in at some point, it was one of his better pitches. He should also throw his curveball more.

    Any chance he is trying to avoid using the sliders and curveballs until he gets a long term extension in fear of needing surgery or blowing out his arm?

    Comment by Shaun Catron — April 13, 2012 @ 5:48 am

  73. Oil, your link isn’t working. It leads to a “post not found” page

    Comment by JDanger — April 13, 2012 @ 6:40 am

  74. Unorthodox throwing motion, i’d trade him before his arm falls off.

    Comment by DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy — April 13, 2012 @ 7:29 am

  75. great. he has both.

    Comment by jason_mack — April 13, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  76. JDanger – FG deleted it, and I posted it in the comments section on your blog (which I hope was OK – I thought it was since I linked you to the page there as well). Thanks for the heads up.

    Comment by Big Oil — April 13, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  77. Why did FG delete it? Seems to me like you are just spamming

    Comment by adohaj — April 13, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

  78. “In other words, if you looked at his peripherals and not his ERA, you would see nothing to be alarmed about.”

    And if you looked at the tv and not his peripherals, you would see plenty to be alarmed about. Decreased velocity + high ERA + looks like he’s throwing meatballs = cause for concern. He might end the year with the same stats as 2010 or 2011, but it’s not encouraging that he looks terrible on the mound and he’s giving up boatloads of runs.

    It’ll be interesting to see how he ends up the year though. He seems to think he’ll get $25MM/year for at least 5 years, but I don’t know if a team would approach that.

    Comment by vivalajeter — April 13, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  79. Bronson Arroyo begs to differ.

    Comment by gnomez — April 13, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  80. Lincecum is stuck in somewhat of a perfect storm right now. His velocity is down which makes his change look more hittable as was stated with the drop to a 7MPH difference. On top of that he has abandoned the slider per the request of the SF organization apparently to reduce the strain on his arm. From a non-statistical POV think about facing a slider and change-up that are typically in the same MPH range and coming from the same arm slot with equal arm speed. One breaks in the complete oppo direction from the other and they are a deadly combo when thron back to back. I wish I had charted a game of his to reference so I had a count, but on many occasions I saw Tim go backdoor slider on the black and then would follow that with the change tailing down and away off the outside corner, something Pedro also had a tendency to do with his breaking ball/changeup. It is almost impossible to lay off that combo regardless of the order he throws it in and if he brings it back into his repertoire the MPH on his fastball wouldn’t be as much of a concern

    Comment by JB Knox — April 14, 2012 @ 12:02 am

  81. @ad: please tell me how you concluded with confidence that I’m spamming. Otherwise, don’t speculate.

    Comment by Big Oil — April 14, 2012 @ 12:24 am

  82. Despite all of the progress that has been made in understanding the role of luck in performance, especially over short periods, every year there is a pitcher that the Fangraphs readership looks at and says, “I know what his peripherals say, but he doesn’t look right to me and I think he has a problem that DIPS can’t recognize“. Last year it was Greinke. Perhaps this year it will be Lincecum.

    Comment by mcbrown — April 14, 2012 @ 10:55 am

  83. Lincecum’s mechanics are optimal in regards to almost everything.

    Roger Clemens also experienced decreased K-Rate following his absolute dominant seasons.

    My concerns regarding TL55 have nothing to do with mechanics but his size and reputed lack of conditioning work.

    It’s also possible that hitters have changed their approach since they don’t really need to look for the slider.

    We don’t really have lots of examples of small pitchers and durability. His mechanics are extreme in regards to stride length, hip-shoulder separation, etc. It is possible that he needs to focus on core and general strength conditioning in the off-season. Even the freakish freaks breakdown without vigilant work in the off-season. See: Griffey Jr., Ken.

    I would not be surprised if he added something like a split or cutter that would give him another “movement pitch” that doesn’t have the arm stress of the slider.

    We also could wait and see what effect warmer temps have on his velocity as well as whether he gets in better condition as the season goes on. With a pitcher that doesnt put in serious off-season work he may still be in “spring training shape” so to speak.

    Unfortunately, there are some examples of slightly built pitchers losing velocity and effectiveness. But none of them have been as talented and dominant as Lincecum. Even Doc K isn’t a good comp despite similar stride lengths, Hip-shoulder sep, etc because Doc was long and lean and was outright abused as a young hurler.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 14, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  84. DrBGF said the same stuff.

    I didn’t realize that his change was split grip. If that’s the case batters may just be laying off anything that starts at the knees.

    The inclusion of a cutter seems obvious to me. It’s an easy pitch to throw and easy to control. Depending on how far you get your fingers on the side, it can have slider like movement without the intentional twist of the wrist.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 14, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  85. Looking at his stats so far this year …

    Everything looks standard Timmy, except for the BABIP and HR/FB%.

    Also, let’s not forget this … here’s his starts:

    1. @ Arizona
    2. @ Colorado

    If a pitcher only pitched in those 2 parks, they might not look very good. I watched the game against ARZ and he hung a changeup to Young for a bomb, and then Goldy got one on a 3-1 fastball. Nothing extreme about either of those.

    Another interesting bit is that his Curve and Change velocities are right where they’ve always been, but the fastball velocity is down a tick. Does anyone know if he has changed grips? Or is a throwing a 2-seamer?

    If his arm is moving through the zone slower than it has in the past (reduced velocity), then I would suspect that the CB and CU velocities would be decreased as well … they’re not.

    But again, 2 starts against DBacks at ARZ and Rockies @ Coors Field shouldn;t be anything worth dwelling on.

    Career numbers at those 2 parks:

    1. ARZ – .324 BABIP 4.26 ERA
    2. COL – .335 BABIP 4.31 ERA

    Interesting that April and July have been, by far, his 2 best months throughout his career, well except for 2012.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 14, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  86. OPS

    ARZ – .738
    COL .743

    Career OPS: .635

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 14, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

  87. His arm speed looks the same to me on his offspeed stuff but he seems to be short-arming the fastball a bit. Not a ton, but instead of throwing through the catcher he seems to be throwing to him, which tells me either his labrum isn’t loose yet or is suffering a small amount of damage which may be why he dumped the slider. Still not sure why pitch f/x are showing he’s thrown 21.8% sliders. Ive watched both starts and haven’t seen his slider yet. It does seem as if he added a new grip to his curve to add mph and it looks almost slurve like, but not the same movement I’m used to seeing from his slider. It may also be some version of a cutter that he is still getting a feel for and is just adding a little too much friction to it which is reducing the velocity on that pitch.

    I never question what pitch f/x is picking up on MPH and movement but I do question the person looking at that information possibly not knowing the difference between certain pitches so there has to be some error in those stats.

    Comment by JB Knox — April 15, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

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