Sunday, July 04, 2010

Where Have You Gone, Tim Lincecum?

The time near the All-Star break is always a nice time to take a look at some players who either out-performed or under-performed expectations.  After reading this comment at Rotoworld the other day, I thought I would take a closer look at Lincecum.

Is there anything to worry about?  Well, a majority of the numbers tell me no.  Lincecum is rocking a 3.05 FIP and a 3.34 FIP, which are both very close to his actual ERA of 3.28.  His GB% and LOB% are consistent with prior years.  So why does it feel like Lincecum is in trouble?

The analysis starts at the K/9 and BB/9.  Lincecum's K/9 is down about .5% from 2008 and 2009, and his BB/9 is up 1% from last year and about .6% from 2008.  The FB/GB is up significantly; the HR/FB is up; the LD% is up.  Lincecum is suffering from a bad combination: he is more hittable and he's missing more spots.  Of course, the amazing thing is that he is so good that it really isn't hurting him too much.

If there is a real concern about Lincecum in the second half, it is this.  His velocity is down about 3 mph since 2008.  The differential between his fastball and change-up is only about 7 mph in 2010.  And, in reality, his curve and slider have been sub-par.  While this screams potential injury, it appears to be mechanical.  I do not watch enough of Lincecum or enough film to be sure, I've seen enough to know that something looks different.

If someone is selling low, I would suggest grabbing Lincecum and riding him the rest of the year.

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