Cain interview on SFGiants.com

Der Wunderkind speaks! Nothing particularly interesting or new except for statement that he felt he was over-throwing earlier in the season but with the All-Star Game break, he had three days to help him relax, after which "everything felt better after that. I calmed down and that let me have fun." Before that he said, "I was trying too hard, making sure my body was a certain way every time, just being tense, too focused. My head was getting in the way of my body."

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.

Winn News, All The Time

According to article in SJMerc, Winn said that his agent began talks Thursday with Giants management on a multi-year contract. No word on what he thought of the idea.


Lefty Jonathan Sanchez got a shoutout too. He's 23 years old, 6' 2", 165 pounds (wow, he's thin!!!) and Alou said "he has an explosive, sneaky fastball. His arm is quick and strong." He led Class A (low-A) South Atlantic League with 166 strikeouts in only 125.2 IP at Augusta.


Felipe Alou on Brian Wilson

Interesting observation from Felipe Alou on Brian Wilson (SJ Mercury) today:

Alou said he noticed right-hander Brian Wilson, a non-roster invitee who pitched at Class A, Double-A and Triple-A last season, as half of the pitchers threw off mounds during the opening workout. ``I see why he was so dominant,'' Alou said of Wilson, 6-2 with 21 saves and a 1.35 ERA overall.

That's great news, it wasn't some fluke successful season he had, if he still shows the ability to be dominant, unlike Foppert the season he was the hyped "next one". Wilson could become a dark horse for the #5 spot in the rotation, though I would rather they start him at AAA and be ready to come up if needed (after Correia and Hennessey in that order with Wright the #5 starter, ideally), else he'll get a full year starting at AAA to prepare him for 2006's MLB starting rotation. God only knows, he could make some sweet music; now wouldn't it be nice?


Give that man a long term contract!

Scott Munter was on KNBR tonight on the Giants segment that they do every Thursday and he said that he learned his sinker from Bob Stanley, who worked with him on it in 2003 and 2004 before Munter broke through with his 2005 season. Munter said that his success didn't come until he was able to break 90 MPH on his sinker, which I guess took him two years to figure out.

He said that he's working on a slider to give him more options in 2006. He said his arm feels like normal now, his surgery took out bone chips and scraped off scar tissue that had formed in there. As Chico would say to Da Man, "Lookin' Goood!"

Anyway, we should give Stanley a long term contract to teach his sinker to other pitchers. I wonder what Tidrow's specialty pitches were.

The Mythical Contract Extension: Sabean Crying Wolf?

Does Brian Sabean have short term memory loss? Either that or he takes us for dopes - and we are not an idiot! :^) Today, I read in the Mercury that Sabean said that a contract extension with Randy Winn could start today. Then again, about a month ago (Jan 20th), he said that it would start in late January, early February. Then again, early in the off-season, he said that it would start seriously at the end of November, around Thanksgiving.

Why the sliding "deadline"? Why is it every time he speaks on the Winn extension, it's "we are very serious about an extension and we'll be talking with him (seriously) very soon. Seriously." This is three times he has said on-record that he will be speaking with Winn about an extension. I understand that he got married in early December plus had a honeymoon to go to, but he's had all January to just call Winn and his agent and start kicking some figures around. To get it going.

Obviously, I want to see Winn get an extension. I posted a while back that, for a good number of reasons, we need to sign Winn. So I've been a little anxious. OK, very anxious. So don't be a tease and say the discussion is just around the corner. Just get the damn thing done or be quiet about it, show the old Sabean diplomacy and inscrutable charm that he has displayed all his time as GM, "We would be very amenable to signing Randy to a long term extension. We just need to set aside time to discuss this very important topic to the Giants. Seriously."


It was in the Stars

I was reading through an interesting article on The Hardball Times discussing the 1994 Expos and Where Are They Now? and it seems like it was meant to be for Marquis Grissom (what a car! Luckily he wasn't named after the Nova, that would have been ironic given his speed) to eventually become a Giants because he was traded for players who were with the Giants at one time or another in their career before Gris joined us.

First, there was the trade to Cleveland for Alan Embree and Kenny Lofton. Then he was traded with Jeff Juden to the Brewers, who had a brief, if controversial cup of coffee with us. OK, nothing earth-shattering, but I thought it was interesting from a Giants fan perspective.

He's also been involved with A's players in trades as well, Mike Fetters and David Justice. But I doubt he'll ever end up with the A's, Billy Beane has rarely signed free agents that old, though he's starting with "The Big Hurt".

Maybe Beane's trying out Sabean's methods now that some site (was that The Hardball Times as well?) had validated Sabean's method of signing older players as being effective, even it is is odd and ridiculed. They said that he's doing "Moneyball" tactics, which is finding undervalued commodities, but that he has found his own pocket of inefficiency in the marketplace and has exploited that.

I would argue that giving up draft picks like he has been doing is another form of exploiting inefficiency in the marketplace. I'll have to update my thoughts and writing on that given the time that has passed since I published that research and others have published similar research which contradict mine, or so my detractors have said. Hopefully I can find the right way to present the data, I've given another try on McCovey Chronicles and I'll use that info in a future post to try to show that giving up draft picks are logical under certain circumstances.


Can there ever be a more obvious headline? There is a news article entitled, "Alou Counting on Bonds Health". Of course he is, almost any manager is counting on the health of their best players, whether he has a history of health problems or is a model of health or just an old fart.

ADDITION: Weaver just signed for $8.4M with the LAnaheim Angels for one year (couldn't find any takers at $10M/year for multiple years). That makes our signing of Morris look like a bargain, Morris is much better than Weaver. Boras does it again for his clients.