Controlled Fury: Tim Lincecum
Last year, I wrote an article where I reviewed the 1st round picks in last year’s draft
Here’s what I said about Tim Lincecum:
#10 - San Francisco Giants - P Tim Lincecum
Really goes after it. Check out how his front leg, just before landing, seems to step over an imaginary object and then land? This helps the hips turn faster. He couples it with a late hand break and a very quick arm. At 10, he’s a steal. THIS is how you use your body to throw. Straight over the top release point in which he is forced to yank his head out of the way. Might scare some, doesn’t scare me…..certainly not when you’re this efficient with your body. This is my #1 pick, hands down.
Time will tell with young T-Link (that’s my attempt at a nickname) with respects to his degree of success in the majors. However, in this article, we’ll examine my above review and see, once we slow him down on video, if I was close to my initial assessment.
The controlled fury that is Tim Lincecum:
I always start with tempo. And with T-Link, I’m not going to spend too much time on it. He’s quick, he’s aggressive and there’s not much to not like in this department. From top of knee lift to release, he’s at around 22 frames. That’s with him turning his front leg substantially towards 2nd (which takes more time). Ok, I’m rambling. He’s good, really good.
That’s got to be one of the quickest arms anywhere. That is just insane. He “loads his shoulder” well. His elbow “picks up” the ball.
What’s not to like?
There is one thing I don’t like that I missed in my draft review. He breaks his hands earlyish, which I personally don’t like because it makes the arm slow down to wait for the body. I would rather have a quick, uninterrupted, continuous motion of the arm. He doesn’t come to a full stop by any means, but it is a break in momentum. However, what he does to delay bringing the arm forward too quickly is to kinda tuck it behind his right hip.
Another benefit of having a quick tempo?
Your arm doesn’t have to wait long, because the body is basically making the arm move forward.
So, am I nitpicking about his early hand break?
I could be.
This is where it gets REALLY interesting. I mean, check this out….
1) See how he leads with his butt/hips as he carries his body forward? That’s just phenomenal.
2) why did I stop the animation on frames 11 and 16?
Recently, I wrote an article breaking down Matt Cain (the article at The Hardball Times, and the link to the comments here at BBTF).
He seems like he’s stepping over something, doesn’t he? This “stepover” move is a magic velocity secret. Done correctly, it is an easy way to pick up a few MPHs.
I also mentioned this when I did the review on the draft.
Anyway, the reason I stopped the animation is to isolate that part of his lower body mechanics. Focus on his very athletic position and movements in the frames just before getting to frame 11. How aggressive is Lincecum’s move? Outstanding, just outstanding.
These above points lead us to…..
3)Is he basically jumping off the mound?
It sure looks like it. Watch the side clip. That’s 97 mph from just that much closer to the plate. The things he’s done before (his aggressive lead with his hips and butt, his push off the mound and his “stepover”) have put him in a position where he can now rotate his upper body aggressively into release from a little closer to the plate.
MORE ROTATIONAL MADNESS
Focus on his midsection and torso
I stopped the animation above on frame 4 to highlight this position. Watch his belt buckle as an indicator. At that point, his lower body is facing forward as his upper body is still closed. That tension, that separation helps his upper body uncoil voilently into release.
But he moves his head out of the way!
Yeah, so what. Pitchers with high release points need to move their head out of the way in order to make room for the arm. Here’s Mike Mussina, for example.
Some say that this makes it harder to throw strikes. It may, but I’d rather have a pitcher keep his natural arm slot and work with it, especially when you’re as efficient as Tim Lincecum.
FRONT SIDE AND FOLLOW THROUGH
I won’t spend too much time here. He does a pretty good job of firming up his front side prior to release. His follow through is indicative of the power and effort he has put into the pitch.
I’m almost too giddy in praise of Tim Lincecum. The power he can generate out of a 5’10”, 155 lb body is just plain ridiculous. Of course, there’s injury risk. He’s young, he’s aggressive, and his mechanics are uncommon. We know a little about his college workload. I can see why some may shy away from someone like this. Like I said in the draft review,
Might scare some, doesn’t scare me.
As always, comments and questions are welcome.
Posted: March 07, 2007 at 02:25 PM | 44 comment(s)