Monday, April 23, 2012

Giants Top List...Of Starters Losing Steam

WSJ article today lists the six starters with the biggest decreases in fastball velocity from last year. And two Giants, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong, make the list:

San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum hasn't had the kind of start to the season that he was hoping for, posting a 10.54 ERA in his first three starts, with some analysts quick to note a significant reduction in his fastball velocity.

However, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner is in pretty good company, as top hurlers such as CC Sabathia and Roy Halladay have also lost speed. Cleveland's Justin Masterson has had the biggest decline, throwing 3.1 mph slower than last April.

Lincecum's fastball in 2012 has averaged 90.2 miles per hour, down 2.1 mph from the 92.3 he averaged last April.

Another former Cy Young Award winner struggling to regain the speed he had last season is the Yankees' Sabathia (91.5 mph). Both Sabathia and Lincecum still have good walk and strikeout rates, and their underlying performance suggests that they can still get batters out even if they aren't throwing as hard as they did last season.

Both Sabathia and Lincecum have started slow before, only to regain their velocity and their dominance later in the season. While they might not be lighting up radar guns right now, expect both pitchers to round into form before too long.

You can tell yourself that. However, having seen similar points of concern for Jonathan Broxton over the past couple of years, I know another path for pitchers with declining velocity. And it ain't pretty.


Greg Hao said...

This is what happens when you get off that juice!