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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Scouting Report, RHP Matt Cain

The former 1st round pick was highly-touted before his major league debut in 2005 (#3 pitching prospect by John Sickels, #10 by Baseball America), and he hasn't disappointed. Although he has a 50-59 career win/loss record, he has had the least amount of run support of any pitcher in baseball during that time period. His career ERA sits a 3.51 and his WHIP is 1.25. He's made 30 starts in each of his last four years, and has topped the 200 inning mark the past three years. He made his 1st all-star team last year, and is still only 25 years old. For his career against the Mets he's 3-3 (7 starts), but he was 1-0 with two quality starts last year (including when he beaned D Wright in the head August 15th), and a 2.02 ERA.

Cain has an efficient wind-up and throws from a high 3/4s arm slot. He throws his fastball 90-94 mph and isn't afraid to throw it up in the zone. His fastball velocity is down to 91.4 this year (92.6 last year). He relies on a late-breaking slider (85 mph) more than his curve (76 mph). He also features a plus change-up (84 mph). His two best pitches are his fastball and change up. His K/9 rate has dropped to 6.5 (career average 7.4) and his swing and miss % is at a career low 7.4%. Throws his fastball 60+ % of the time when he gets to two strikes.

Once again Cain has been a victim of poor run support, as his record is 6-8, but he has a 3.34 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. After his start on June 13th, he was 6-4 with a 2.05 ERA, but similar to Zito, he was extremely lucky with the lack of HR's allowed even though he's an extreme fly ball pitcher (31% ground ball rate, lowest of his career). He had allowed 4 home runs in 92 1/3 innings, but since June 13th, he's let up 6 home runs in 29 1/3 innings. His Hr/Fly ball rate is also still very low (5.7%, career is also low though, 6.7%), and it may correct in the future (his xFIP is 4.72). The Giants have lost his last five starts, and his ERA is 7.45 in those games.

Cain is a very good pitcher, and is a solid #2 that teams would love to have. He signed an extension keeping him in San Francisco through the 2012 season, where he will make 15 million dollars (8 million in 2011 also). So for those counting at home, between Lincecum, Cain and Zito, the Giants are paying those three pitchers alone 52+ million in 2012.


  1. Mets will have trouble again...I can't wait to see this line up tonight...Maybe IKE DAVIS leading off?? let's see what Jerry pulls out of his hat tonight?!?

  2. The bats had better wake up in a hurry. I know they are facing good pitching, but shutout in back to back games...ridiculous. I think Charlie Samuels forgot to bring the teams bats to San Fran. I'm guessing today's lineup will look like this:
    Pagan, Cora, Wright, Beltran, Davis, Bay, Thole, Tejada, Takahashi
    Beltran gets tomorrow off and Frenchy, dare I say it...gets another start

  3. That too is a problem line up with Cora and Tejada....if Thole is playing, he is not a bad two hitter but then the "LENGTH" of the line up disappears with Cora, Tejada, Takahashi..OUCH