People have been wondering what has happened to Lincecum. I'll give you a very simple explanation.
Take a good look at both of the pictures above. You may think that you are looking at two similar pitchers. The guy on the left' jumps' off of the mound while the guy on the right 'drives' down it.
Understanding the difference between 'jumping' down the mound and 'driving' down it will literally save your career, so listen up.
First let's take a look at the back foot of these two :
Tim's back foot (anchor foot) is almost completely off of the ground with only his last spike on his right front toe touching the mound. Mariano is the absolute opposite. His anchor is completely on the ground, with only the last spike on his right heel not making direct contact with the mound.
By keeping his anchor on the mound through his turn, Mariano is able to use the big muscles in his body to throw the baseball (legs, core). Mariano stays connected throughout his delivery. Staying connected throughout your delivery will allow you to properly decelerate and pronate out in front of you head after release. Deceleration is crucial for arm health. By keeping his anchor down, Mariano is able to consistently decelerate correctly. Because Mariano keeps his anchor down through his turn, he was able to have a long, almost 20 year career.
Tim, on the other hand, will throw the baseball with the small tendons in his elbow because of the violent jump down the mound which disconnects his arm from his core and legs.
Now, onto the front foot :
Now take a look at Tim's front foot. He is what we at Core Savvy Baseball call "leading with his feet". Because Tim jumped off of the mound instead of driving down it, he is unable to control his forward movement, specifically his front foot (leading with the feet). His foot will land in a different spot almost every time, making a consistent delivery impossible.
Mariano's front foot on the other hand, is under control because he 'drove' down the mound. If you take a closer look, it is as if Mariano is 'shaving off' the dirt on the mound in front of him with his left foot. 'Shaving off' is the visual cue I give my players for how to use the front foot without it getting disconnected.
You probably could guess what happens when a person 'leads with their feet'. Tim's front foot is incorrectly leading which causes his arm to drag and never catch up. When a pitchers arm does not catch up, they throw the baseball behind their head. When a pitcher throws the baseball behind their head, elbow problems develop quickly because the small tendons are what they are using to generate velocity. Pitchers who use their elbow to generate velocity will generally loose 5-10mph in 3 years because the small tendons in the elbow can no longer support the violence created by jumping off of the mound. This is exactly what we have seen in Lincecum's decline over the last two years. Tim is the most classic example of a jumper.
These two pictures are so our readers can see what 'throwing behind your head' actually looks like versus reaching out and 'locking up' on your target. You will notice how Tim is already getting violent and is just about to release the ball. Mariano on the other hand is able to throw the baseball 6-12 inches out in front of his head which makes his ball extremely driven (good angle or tilt). Mariano is able to do this because he is 'driving' down the mound under control, not 'jumping'. Lincecum's pitches will remain 'flat' (pushed) for the rest of his career until he decides to keep his anchor foot (back foot) on the ground and turn.
So, next time one of your friends brings up Lincecum, let them know whats wrong with his mechanics.
Lincecum Jumping down the Mound
Mariano 'Driving' The Baseball In Front Of His Head