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:
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.
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!