Tim Lincecum is raring to get back on the diamond yet again in 2018. According to Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball, The Freak plans on showcasing his abilities in front of many major league teams on Thursday.
Tim Lincecum Making another Comeback to Major League Baseball
The Freak was spotted working with Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Adam Ottavino. Boddy posted a picture of Lincecum looking game-ready. Boddy continued on and commented that Lincecum plans to”throw for teams at a showcase in the near future.”
Lincecum last pitched in 2016 with the Los Angeles Angels. He only made nine starts for the Halos and turned in a 9.16 ERA. While he finished with a 7.5 K/9, he gave up a little over five walks per game, and ended his very brief appearance in the majors with a 5.4 BB/9. He got knocked around, and closed his stint with the Angels with a 16 H/9.
Timmy did, however, win three World Series championships with the San Francisco Giants in 2010, 2012, and 2014. He won back-to-back Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009 and is a four-time All-Star. In 1682 career innings, he’s posted a 3.74 ERA, 1736 strikeouts, and a 1.29 WHIP. Lincecum has a career 21.1 WAR.
Lincecum quickly became a fan favorite in San Francisco after winning back-to-back Cy Youngs. He earned the nickname “The Freak” based on his tiny build and his freakish delivery. The 5’11”, 170-pound right-hander’s delivery was so unorthodox compared to normal pitchers. He would have his right hand nearly touching the ground before uncoiling himself towards his target. On top of that, his delivery had so many moving parts that it would distract hitters. Though his unorthodox delivery was part of his success, his build could not support the velocity he was throwing at.
The Freak has six pitches in his repertoire: a fastball, slider, changeup, cutter, sinker, and splitter. Up to his 2012 season, he mixed in a healthy amount of fastballs. He relied on his fastball the most in 2008, which resulted in his first Cy Young award. From 2012, on his velocity started to decrease. It dropped from 96 MPH in 2008 to a top speed of 88 MPH in 2016. Why would this be?
Boddy wrote an article for The Hardball Times way back in 2012 with a theory that his drop in pitching velocity is a combination of weight loss and mechanics. Timmy lost 30 plus pounds in the 2012 offseason. He used counter-current swimming and a tight diet. While it sounds good, Boddy comments that increased body weight is positively correlated with increased fastball velocity. So, while Lincecum was staying in shape with a disciplined workout and diet plan, he was actually hurting his pitching velocity.
After Lincecum lost 30 pounds, his mechanics then changed. His weight loss affected how much trunk tilt he had on his delivery. Boddy noticed that he had more trunk tilt in 2012 than in 2008. In 2008, Timmy’s trunk tilt was at 129 degrees, before increasing to 132 degrees of trunk tilt in 2012. The weight loss forced him to rely on his back muscles to produce the same amount of velocity he had in 2008. That’s a major no-no. The higher trunk tilt also resulted in a higher release point.
Although Boddy suggests that Lincecum looked at film to figure out his mechanical issues, based on the photo Boddy posted, it looks like The Freak is back to his bulky 2008 form. That’s going to be a huge help if he’s to solidify a come back to Major League Baseball.