Friday, April 1, 2011

Lincecum's Opening Day velocity

Tim Lincecum didn't have either his best changeup or best slider last night, but he got by, despite the defense behind him playing terrible.

His line was seven innings, five hits, three walks, five strikeouts and one unearned run. He took the loss. It was understandable, though, as Clayton Kershaw wasn't just better, he was brilliant. With the shadows and glare masking his pitches in the early going, it was no wonder he was sending the Giants' hitters back to the dugout shaking their heads. He outpitched the Giants' ace.

But if there was one thing specifically that was encouraging -- aside from Brandon Belt's impressive debut -- it was that Lincecum's velocity was both quality and steady. According to the PITCHf/x tool from Brooks Baseball, Tim threw 57 fastballs (40 four-seam, 17 two-seam). His four-seam heater averaged 93 mph and he topped out at 95. His two-seam fastball averaged just over 93 mph and topped out at 94.7. More impressive than that, it hardly waned even into the seventh inning:

Pulled from here.

Compare that to his velocity on Opening Day 2010:

Pulled from here.

From the very first start of 2010, he showed an inability to maintain velocity throughout the game. Lincecum will probably never be a high-90s power arm again. But hopefully, with an apparent commitment to conditioning, Lincecum will be able to maintain above-average fastball speed with his devastating changeup and the nasty slider he rolled out in September and rode to a World Championship in October and November.

I wrote about Santiago Casilla yesterday at Bay City Ball. My thoughts on his spring (and day) were far less encouraging.

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