As we grow older our bodies break down, our skills deteriorate and — for pitchers — our fastballs lose a little bit of their zip. Fangraphs actually does a great job visualizing this pitcher attrition.
Now for me, this means my 70-mph heater will end up in the 62-65-mph range in the coming years, but for Tim Lincecum it’s meant his 95-mph fastball back in 2008 has dropped all the way down to 91-mph this year.
Lincecum’s Average Fastball Velocity
Now this isn’t insurmountable. Not in the least. Plenty of pitchers have shown the ability to remake themselves and remain elite even without the same stuff they had in their prime, but you can’t do it when your change-up is actually gaining velocity. Don’t believe me? Check out Lincecum’s change-up velocity.
Lincecum’s Average Change-Up Velocity
It doesn’t appear there’s an correction in sight. Despite his large ERA-FIP gap, it’s time to give up on Lincecum.