“” Tim Lincecum - What Changed? - Driveline Baseball

Tim Lincecum – What Changed?

| Pitching Mechanics
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tim Lincecum isn’t having the same success in 2010 as he did in his Cy Young winning years of 2008 and 2009. His ERA is up, his walks are up, his strikeouts are down, and perhaps most importantly, his fastball velocity is steadily dropping:

Lincecum's Dropping Fastball Velocity
Lincecum's Dropping Fastball Velocity (click for full image)

A declining fastball velocity is a strong indicator of an impending injury. Typically shoulder injuries are correlated with fastball velocity loss while steady loss of control tends to indicate elbow troubles, but the problem can be rooted in either joint – or sometimes, both.

I was asked to put together some game film from 2009 and compare it to his pitching mechanics in 2010, and I’ve done so below. I’ve synchronized each clip to the release point, and both pitches were thrown out of the windup in the first inning of each game at AT&T Park (the Giants’ home stadium). The clip on the left is Lincecum from June 12th, 2009, while the clip on the right is Lincecum from August 27th, 2010.

Lincecum - Old vs. New
Lincecum - Old vs. New (click for full image)

I’m withholding my comments pending a discussion with a colleague, but I thought I would share this with everyone on the blog. Please feel free to post your comments and observations below!

Comment section

  1. westy -

    It seems like he is rushing in the right one. I think it’s pretty hard to tell from this, though. I also tried to look at his base, but that looks pretty consistent.

    Pretty much have no idea what I am supposed to see from this, so I am very interested to hear the full explanation.

  2. Mark -

    I’m also not sure what the difference is. He seems to turn away from home plate during his leg left more in the right one but it could be the camera angle.

  3. Eric -

    Aside from the stirrups in 2010, I don’t really see too much difference. It’s tough to watch both at the same time, but it seems like his arm may be a little slower to vertical position this year. Maybe. Again, tough to tell. Any way we can get a video that pauses at foot plant?

  4. JoeM -

    I see that he is rotating his shoulders and hips more away from homeplate on his windup. Second, he is lifting his drive heel off the rubber sooner that before. It also appears that he is landing a bit more closed as well. His arm slot seems to a bit lower with more forearm flyout. Finally he is not rotating his shoulders as fully during his follow-through, look at the 5’s on the back of his jersey. I would say he is over-rotating away from the plate and that forces him to start rotating his hips earlier, instead of turning the hips as late as possible. The end result is his hips have slowed down and causing him to land closed. He then has to throw across his body which shows up in his shoulder rotation in the follow-through. His velocity has decreased because of an inefficient hip turn and more energy is going around his body instead of being directed toward the plate.

  5. Jose Nunez -

    From watching a few games that ive watched and have seen how tim was when he broke in. He was more flexible at least used more trunk versus more arm now. Now Not to say anything or point fingers but theres a pitcher who they have that Has to rely on more deception that anything such as hiding the ball. In a photo montage you can see how Tim is his wind up now he’s actually resting his arm on his leg which before ways much further back.

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