There’s been some chatter about Tim Lincecum’s fastball velocity in his first two starts. By most data points, it’s down by about a 1 mph or so. Here’s a plot of Lincecum’s first two starts by only the velocity on his fastball.
The difference between the two starts isn’t large. He was throwing slightly harder in the 2nd start against the Padres and he did throw about 17 more fastballs because he stayed in the game much longer than his Opening Day Start. What’s the deal? Stamina? Mechanics? Injury? It’s way too early to start worrying about what’s happening with Linecum based on his fastball velocity. But it is something to keep an eye on. Part of me wonders if it’s a stamina or “rhythm” issue that Tim alluded to in Spring Training. If you notice in the 2nd start against the Padres, the first 35 fastballs Lincecum threw were almost all between 93-95 mph. By fastball #36 — the 45th overall pitch tracked by PITCHf/x — his velocity dropped all the way to the 90-92 mph range for most of his remaining fastballs. He did touch 93 mph a couple of times but it appears that Lincecum hit a wall. He even threw a sub-90 mph fastball towards the end of his start.
When you consider that it’s still pretty early in the season — we’ve yet to play baseball outside of April — I don’t think we can glean too much from this data. But, it’s still an interesting bit of information to file away for future reference. I’m not officially worried about Lincecum yet and I hope he’s dealing with a mechanical funk instead of arm-melting pain. Time will tell.
Comment Starter: Are you worried about Lincecum’s two rough starts?