Cain it be? A true, honest-to-goodness stud propect for the Giants?

I normally take pronouncements of Giants top prospects with a grain of salt. After getting spoiled by John "the Count" Montefusco's electrifying start and then living through prospects from Randy Elliott to Rich Murray to Mike Remlinger to Salomon Torres and being severely disappointed, I think I'm pretty immune to hype by now. Even Jesse Foppert and Jerome Williams, despite their top prospect rankings, I was more "Show Me" than anything else, though obviously I was hopeful and I did feel that they were good enough that they should not be traded, that the Giants should give them chances before trading them.

However, Matt Cain is the first in a long time of prospects to get me really excited about a Giants prospect (or perhaps it was just a lack of really exciting prospects :^). The latest news was a blurb in the Merc today. Alou was effusive with his praise for him in that notebook article, saying that Cain reminds him of Mark Prior and reminds hitting coach Joe Lefebvre of Tom Seaver. I know that he's not going to be like them but those are nice comparisions to throw around. It reminded me of an article where Baseball Prospectus found comparables for Jerome Williams stats and a good portion of them went on to become aces of their staff or were very good (Dwight Gooden was the name that I can remember), though obviously this was a statistical resemblance while Alou and Lefebvre were probably talking about Cain's pitching motion.

Surprisingly, though, the Merc's Giants reporter noted on his blog that depending what day it is, either Cain or Valdez is the #1 prospect of the Giants. I don't think that there is any question that Cain is the #1 prospect for the Giants entering the 2005 season, the main question is how far behind is Valdez. I'm no expert, but from what I've read about El Mago, Valdez regressed last year by losing the feel for his slider whereas Cain merely dominated, for the most part, in High-A and AA. Plus, Cain is slotted for the starting rotation, the main question being where he will eventually slot, Ace or 2-3, while Valdez still has enough question marks that he might end up as a smoking ace reliever instead of a good starter.

But good tidbits from that blog is that Alou is even more impressed this year and that a new player to the organization said to Alou "You tell me this guy's not on the pitching staff?" Hopefully that new guy is Matheny.


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