A month ago I wrote an article looking at changes in San Francisco Giants' starting pitcher Tim Lincecum's pitch command and velocity this season. In particular, I found that the velocity on his fastball and slider had decreased by about a mile per hour, and that the average distance of his pitches from the edge of the strikezone had increased--assuming that, generally, pitches near the edge of the strikezone are better than those in the middle or nowhere near it.
Since the all-star break, though, Lincecum's ERA, at least, has been a respectable 3.66. Have his command and speed improved as well?
It turns out that his speed is the same as earlier this year, with a fastball averaging around 90.4 mph, and about a mile per hour slower than last year. So, no improvement on that front.
His average distance from the edge of the strikezone, on the other hand, has gotten a bit better--it's been at .940*, as compared to .923 last year and .961 for the first half of 2012**.
So, long story short, there are some signs that his pitching might be picking up but nothing conclusive.
By the way, I'll be announcing results from the second contest and introducing the third one in the next day or two.
The value for the second half of this year is only statistically significantly different from the value from last year, and from the value for the first half of this year, at the p= .30 level--so the jury's out on this one.