I originally only posted this as a comment but, with today's developments, I decided to take the plunge and make it a FanPost.
I asked my brother (himself a pretty good pitcher in college) about this. I was mostly curious as to the drop and slight lateral move of his release point, his increased reliance on the sinker instead of the slider, and his loss in velocity (down nearly two miles an hour) and here is what he said:
"1. A later release point is usually a good thing; it’s a sign that a pitcher is firing his front side later, enabling him to keep his weight back and be more explosive through his release. For an extreme sinkerballer, movement on the pitches comes from having a slight amount of arm drag, which comes from having the front side open a little earlier. This results in more strain on the arm and side (just ask Jake Westbrook and his elbow) and is also the reason you never see a sinkerballer with a high leg follow through. The tighter, lower release point would indicate to me not that Fausto is releasing later, but that his front side is clearing sooner. This increases arm drag, which leads us right to…
2. His velo is down, probably because having his front side open sooner lengthens the process of delivering the ball, particularly weight transfer. This makes him less explosive to the plate and slows his arm down, which in turn slows the ball down. Speaking of which…
3. Fausto can’t find the zone because his ball is going everywhere. These are really the same problem. Because he is open earlier, his arm comes in and down in an effort to catch up to his body. The increased lateral motion of his arm at the moment of release gives him more and increasingly horizontal spin on the baseball. Because both his release point and movement are radically different than they have been in the past, he effectively has no idea what is going to happen when he lets go of the ball.
4. I would speculate that Fausto’s decreased arsenal stems from his command issues in two ways: first, he has less confidence in everything he throws, so he goes back to the pitch he trusts the most. Second, his new release point would kill both a slider and a cutter. Since he is effectively releasing from inside the plane of his torso now, he would have to "push" either pitch against the momentum of his arm to put it anywhere outside of the left-handed batter’s box. This results more hangers, which results in more home runs and less confidence.
I again hesitate to say the whole deal is fatigue. If his hip has been bothering him for longer than he has let on, i.e., since he started sucking (again), I think he has probably adjusted his mechanics to take the pressure off of that. That puts the arm farther behind the body, brings the plane of the arm in and down, lowers and brings the release point in, and gives us our current Fausto. Might as well shut him down or carve on him; he’s not doing us any good trying to fight through it.
I’m not totally giving up on him, but he needs some serious work. He’s gotta have enough confidence in his hip to plant his front foot back inside where it used to be, bringing his arm slot back up and giving him the assortment of pitches he’s had since he started throwing. Shut him down, then let him finish the year in AAA. Clifton P. Lee is back from the dead, if Fausto has the makeup to do the same thing, might as well let him give it a go."