Cain interview on SFGiants.com
So I wondered if performance matched his perception. Obviously, he pitched pretty well for the Giants at the major league level. Here is his approximate stats pre and post ASG in the minors (it appears to have been the week of July 18th so the stats are all pre-July 11th and post), plus MLB stats:
Time Period - H/9 - W/9 - K/9 - K/BB - HR/9 - WHIP
Pre- ASG - 7.02 - 4.74 - 10.58 - 2.23 - 1.46 - 1.31
Post-ASG - 8.12 - 4.39 - 11.63 - 2.65 - 1.32 - 1.39
SF Giants - 4.66 - 3.69 - 5.83 - 1.58 - 0.78 - 0.93
His minor league stats did look marginally better post than pre, with only H/9 regressing a lot, pushing WHIP slightly higher but still in a good range. More importantly, his W/9 dropped and continued to drop in the majors. His HR/9 rate was still too high but he obviously enjoyed life in the majors in that regard.
Cain really took things to another level at the majors in H/9 but that was pretty abnormal, he should regress there by a lot, but the more encouraging thing was getting his W/9 under 4.0 (still, 3.0 is the max it should be, ideally). Both made the WHIP a great 0.93.
However, his K/9 fell drastically, which dropped it to barely acceptable levels, and making his K/BB ratio below the minimum range of 2.0-2.2 that it should be if he is to be the starter we Giants fans hope him to be. He was able to get away with that with his low H/9 but that should go much higher in 2006.
The good thing, from what I gathered from various interviews I've read, Cain didn't really go to any of his secondary pitches while up in the majors, he relied solely on his fast ball, so while major leaguers might catch up with his fast ball, he should be able to counteract that by going more to his secondary pitches once the major leaguers figure out his fast ball. Hopefully Matheny and Morris will be able to help him out in that regard.
The Chron had some great news in today's baseball column: "Matheny caught Jason Schmidt and could not contain his glee. 'Beautiful. He had the late life he was missing most of last year, and a great changeup. To have that kind of life and arm speed this early is something to be excited about.' "
If Schmidt is back, the Giants potentially have a super rotation with Schmidt, Morris, Lowry and Cain in it if they can pitch like they have in the past. Lots of "ifs" still but this is great news to start with early in spring training.