Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 11/19/14
Picimg_tim_lincecum_waits_1140

Tim Lincecum has been one of the most interesting players in the majors since his rookie year in 2007.  This is partly due to the fact that he possesses a formidable fastball despite being listed at only 5’11” and 163 lbs.  It’s also partly due to his unorthodox windup, which also happens to be the reason he is able to throw harder than one would think.  And of course his signature hair-style that makes him look more likely to appear on the set of Wayne’s World than a pitcher’s mound.  To the chagrin of Giants fans, and probably the majority of baseball fans alike, Lincecum has struggled so far this season.  His ERA is 6.09, and his WHIP of 1.57 is the highest of his career.

Lincecum’s ERA is inflated a bit by a BABIP of .330, and has only stranded 60.5% of base runners.  His FIP of 3.89 is solid, but it’s significantly worse than his career rate of 2.99.  So although he hasn’t been quite as terrible as his ERA would make you believe, he hasn’t been performing at the CY Young level that we are used to seeing.  Looking deeper into the numbers, there are some underlying problems that may explain the drop off in performance.  For starters, his walk rate is up 2.6% over his career rate, and his strikeout rate is down 2.6% over his career.  This statistical symmetry implies that 2.6% of the batters Lincecum would normally be striking out are being given a free pass instead.  On top of that, his ground ball rate is down to 41.5% from 47.9% last season.  Batters have also been hitting more line drives (26.3%) off of Lincecum than in any previous seasons.  Not only is Lincecum walking more batters this year, but batters are squaring up the ball at a more frequent rate.

When looking at his pitch data, we see some issues that could be the cause of Lincecum’s problems.  His fastball velocity is down 2.1 MPH from last season, and perhaps even more alarming, his least effective pitch according to pitch values has been his changeup (-6.9 wCH).  This is especially problematic because Lincecum’s Bugs Bunny changeup had been his put-away pitch in seasons past.  In his last four seasons, his changeup has averaged a 16.4 wCH.  It is entirely possible that the lack of fastball velocity is directly correlated with the decline in his changeup’s effectiveness.  After all, the changeup is a pitch that is used to fool hitters into believing it is a fastball.  If you shave a couple miles per hour off the difference between the two pitches, that is going to make for a significantly less effective combination at the major league level.

There is no way for me to know what is causing Lincecum’s fastball velocity to drop.  But it is certainly easy to point to the fact that he has already thrown 1,142 major league innings (including playoffs), despite this being only his sixth season.  In the previous four seasons, he has averaged well over 229.2 innings per year.  However, it may simply be that pitchers start to see a drop in velocity at around Lincecum’s age (28).  This chart on pitchers and their aging curves from Fangraphs seems to suggest that Lincecum has simply reached the age at which he may start to lose some zip on his fastball.  The fact that he has thrown so many innings may even accelerate the aging curve for Lincecum, possibly leading to the drop in velocity we are seeing this season.

-Albright

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jon Jones thinks he can beat Cain Velasquez

Larry Bird jokes about pose of Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Barry Switzer urged Cowboys to draft Murray with great quote

SF Giants file brief in support of gay marriage to Supreme Court

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brian Hoyer praises Johnny Manziel for checking into rehab

Dockett: I would have signed with Cardinals for less money

Report: Darrelle Revis' decision to come down to Patriots, Jets

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

Associated Press will have 'robots' writing game stories

WATCH: Craig Sager emotional in warm welcome back to TNT

Likeliest landing spots for Ndamukong Suh

Tigers pitcher Alfredo Simon drives a chrome Mercedes

WATCH: Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs who doubts her ability

Michelle Beadle’s campaign to be cast in ‘Sharknado 3′ pays off

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Dodgers will have a tough time dumping Andre Ethier

Brian Cashman: Derek Jeter should be final Yankees captain

Tom Brady, Rory McIlroy to play round at Augusta National

No one knows who will win the 2014-15 NBA MVP

Giants TE on plane that slid off runway in New York

TSN to stop airing tweets after trade deadline debacle

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Larry Bird trash talks Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Likeliest landing spots for Suh

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Mayweather waited for Pacquiao to get old, right?

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

AP will have 'robots' writing game stories

Manning officially returning to Broncos

No one knows who will win the MVP

Pop rips notion of NBA Finals in July

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.