Tim Lincecum’s Early Struggles

Something is wrong with Tim Lincecum. After giving up five runs in his first start this year, things got worse for him last night. In just 2.1 innings, Lincecum allowed six runs on nine hits while walking two and striking out only one batter. While it’s usually not smart to make conclusions based on just 7.2 innings, Lincecum has already shown some reasons for folks to be concerned. And unless something changes, Lincecum could be in for a rough season.

After his first start, some writers wondered about Lincecum’s velocity. A look at the Pitch f/x data confirms those questions. Last season, Lincecum averaged 92.2 mph on his fastball. In his first start of the season, his fastball averaged 90.0 mph. And while critics will be quick to point out that it was just one start, as Jeff Zimmerman pointed out last June, pitcher velocity stabilizes after just one start. There’s a chance Lincecum could increase his velocity as the season goes on, but according to Jeff’s article, it will only increase by a maximum of 0.8 mph. The early returns on Lincecum’s second start aren’t encouraging, either. Lincecum’s velocity was even worse last night, according to Brooks Baseball.

Velocity loss has been a growing concern for Lincecum, and the speed on his pitches has been in steady decline since his rookie season. After compiling 15.5 WAR between 2008 and 2009, Lincecum dropped to 9.3 the past two seasons. While 9.3 WAR is still good enough to make him the 12th-best pitcher during that time, he rated as baseball’s top pitcher in 2008 and 2009.

With his diminished velocity, Lincecum has also seen his peripherals drop. In his first full season, Lincecum struck out 28.6% of the batters he faced. That number dropped to 24.4% last year. That’s still pretty exceptional, but the number is declining. What’s more concerning is Lincecum’s walk rate. Lincecum’s BB% fell to a career low 7.5% in 2009, but it jumped to 9.6% last year. And even though he has lost velocity in the past and succeeded, you have to wonder how long he can be effective if his fastball averages 90 mph the whole season.

Lincecum combated his decreased velocity by developing one of the nastiest changeups in baseball. In the past, Lincecum’s change has been about 9 mph behind his fastball. This season, the difference between the two is about 7 mph. That small change can produce some pretty awful results: Essentially, the smaller the mph difference, the less effective a change-up becomes. That could be the case this season as Lincecum’s changeup currently has a negative pitch-type rating, the first time that’s happened in his career. Sure, were only talking about two games, but if Lincecum can’t increase his velocity, it’ll be interesting to see whether he can still effectively use his changeup.

Lincecum already made headlines this season when he said that he planned to scrap his slider. While he’s made the decision so that he could stay healthy, he may want to reconsider if his struggles continue. Lincecum’s slider has always rated well, according to pitch values, and it would give him another effective pitch. It couldn’t hurt for him to at least experiment with the pitch if he can’t return to form over the next few starts.

While Lincecum has seen some signs of decline in the past couple years, this latest velocity change could be a sign that something is seriously wrong. Unless he regains his lost velocity, or he alters his repertoire, his run as an elite pitcher might be in jeopardy.




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Chris is a blogger for CBSSports.com. He has also contributed to Sports on Earth, the 2013 Hard Ball Times Baseball Annual, ESPN, FanGraphs and RotoGraphs. He tries to be funny on twitter @Chris_Cwik.

87 Responses to “Tim Lincecum’s Early Struggles”

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  1. Ayuh says:

    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?

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  2. lonewolf371 says:

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

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  3. A-Rod says:

    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.

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    • Stan Gable says:

      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.

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  4. CJ says:

    #inbeforesmallsamplesize

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    • CJ says:

      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.

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      • Steve Balboni says:

        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?

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      • kampfer says:

        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).

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    • Ayuh says:

      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.

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  5. Jason says:

    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.

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    • deadpool says:

      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.

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    • Big Oil says:

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

      http://www.fangraphs.com/forums/topic.php?id=21607

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  6. Kevin says:

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

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    • Franco says:

      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.

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  7. PeteVenkman says:

    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.

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  8. deadeyerr says:

    Too much weed #420lyfe

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  9. Danny says:

    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?

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    • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

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

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      • PeteVenkman says:

        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.

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      • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

        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

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      • PeteVenkman says:

        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.

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      • Justin says:

        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.

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      • Brandon says:

        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.

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      • PeteVenkman says:

        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.

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      • Cozar says:

        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%.

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  10. Peter says:

    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.

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  11. j6takish says:

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

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  12. KB says:

    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.

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    • Baltar says:

      I love these cherry-picked sample sizes of 1.

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    • chuckb says:

      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.”

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  13. FredMertz65 says:

    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.

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  14. DD says:

    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.

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    • Iggyfenton says:

      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.

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  15. the hottest stove says:

    “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”.

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  16. Clayton Kershaw says:

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

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  17. 4UBlue says:

    2 words Tommy John

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  18. Deelron says:

    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.

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  19. PeteVenkman says:

    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.

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  20. DrBGiantsfan says:

    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!

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  21. John says:

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

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  22. fergie348 says:

    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.

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  23. Brendan says:

    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.

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    • Baltar says:

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

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      • KDL says:

        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.

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      • watwat says:

        Yeah you stupid fuck Balcunt.

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  24. Piehole of David Wells says:

    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?

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  25. Thurston24 says:

    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.

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    • Bip says:

      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?

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      • Feeding the Abscess says:

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

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    • CJ says:

      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.

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  26. CircleChange11 says:

    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.

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  27. mcbrown says:

    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.

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    • Bip says:

      Quality post

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    • Big Oil says:

      Agree with Bip. Would you consider the following?

      http://www.fangraphs.com/forums/topic.php?id=21607

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    • vivalajeter says:

      “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.

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      • mcbrown says:

        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.

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  28. ENE for ME says:

    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

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  29. Shaun Catron says:

    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?

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  30. DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy says:

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

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  31. JB Knox says:

    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

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  32. 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.

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  33. 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.

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  34. CircleChange11 says:

    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.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      OPS

      ARZ – .738
      COL .743

      Career OPS: .635

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    • JB Knox says:

      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.

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