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Lincecum's velocity is down and it probably doesn't matter

Feb 23, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

Yahoo!’s Tim Brown has a feature on Tim Lincecum, the central part of which is Lincecum’s diminishing velocity, which has gone from mid-90s in his rookie year to a consistent 93 mph in 2008 and down to 91-92 last season, at least according to pitching coach Dave Righetti:

“I’m aware my velocity wasn’t where it was,” he said. “I don’t feel
like it’s anything to be scared about. I’ll just learn how to pitch

Whether he’s pitching at 91, 94 or 98, he said, “I’m not sure it’s a
choice. You go out there with what you have. I’m still going out there
with the same kind of confidence.”

Of course over that time his strikeout rate, WHIP, ERA, K/BB ratio, and home run rate have improved so it’s not like anyone is worried.

The scariest thing about Tim Lincecum? He’s right about the age where Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez took a step forward and transformed from really good pitchers with awesome tools to otherwordly pitchers who had awesome tools and truly understood the game of pitching.

  1. Eric Cioe - Feb 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    If any other pitcher in baseball were to lose several mph off of his fastball in his mid 20s, they would not get a free pass. He’ll probably be just as effective at 90 mph, but there is something wrong if a pitcher is losing that much, that soon. Does he have shoulder issues? Has he been overextended in his last two seasons?
    When a pitcher goes from having a 75-type fastball to a 65-type fastball, even when the other pitches gain deception and effectiveness and he gains command, something is not right.

  2. Old Gator - Feb 23, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    He should probably be drinking more coffee and taking dexadrine instead of smoking weed.

  3. Luis - Feb 23, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    I completely agree. I’ve been mostly willing to brush aside his obviously diminished velocity because his results have, in fact, gone from awesome to awesomer over the last 3 years, but if the dip hasn’t been a conscious choice on his part (for example, sacrificing velocity for command), then I’d have to agree it at least raises the question of whether or not something is very wrong with his arm.

  4. peteinfla - Feb 23, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    But maybe he needs the weed to keep up an appetite? This guy is what, 160lbs soaking wet? If he takes dexatrim, he might lose weight, and thus even more off his fastball. Although being small did not hurt Pedro, or Guidry back in the day.
    BTW – thanks for the recipe, however, it did NOT taste like chicken. Kinda gamey. Think is I slice the leftovers thin, smother them with Gebuine Authentic Imitation Cheez Whiz, I could make a decent sandwhich? Just wondering.

  5. Kumar - Feb 23, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    But the dip has definitely gone with increased command, so while it may not be conscious in the sense that he’s not TRYING to be slower, it may reflect a conscious effort at better control. Nobody who’s watched him is worried that his mechanics have suffered.

  6. Old Gator - Feb 23, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Nice try, but the Feelies camp down here in our own sunsoaked geophallus of a state. Of course, if they played a little further south they might be tempted to try chupacabra and velveeta, but on what – arepas?

  7. Jim W - Feb 23, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    His fastball is not ‘riding’ as hard or has lost velocity should be a major factor in how he pitches. He will not be able to “overpower” or fool good fastball hitters…which is just about everybody.
    As they say “time will tell” and hopefully he is aware of the effects of a slower fastball.
    This kid may have been seasoned to fast for the big leagues and that is what is sad about this fact.

  8. DougTucson - Feb 23, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    Let’s see, Lincecum is getting better by the year in all the things that count, but his velocity drops a tiny bit and you are all convinced he’s through. He’s a kid becoming a very good pitcher. No physio-analysis needed.

  9. TonyB - Feb 23, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    The weird thing is that Lincecum isn’t giving a rational explanation for the drop in velocity. Maybe he got a “Crash Davis” talk about throwing too much heat? Maybe he’s taking a proactive apporoach towards a longer career? It could be a lot of things. If it was any kind of shoulder thing, I’d have to believe the Giants would have shut him down and fixed it ASAP like they do with everyone else. It’s rare for a guy his size to throw that hard, so maybe he felt like he’s throwing too hard for his body?
    By the way, if he was consistently 95-96 and now 90-91 that’s not a little drop, it’s big. It could be a few degrees on his range of motion, etc.

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