If you play fantasy baseball in any format, I’m sure you’ve run across articles telling you all about Trevor Cahill of the Oakland Athletics. As a sophomore, Cahill has drastically improved his numbers from his rookie year.
As a rookie, Cahill went 10-13 with a 4.63 ERA in 32 starts during the 2009 season. He also walked 72 while striking out 90 in 178.2 innings. In 2010, he is 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 12 starts. Additionally, Cahill has walked only 24 while striking out 52.
According to FanGraphs, Cahill’s fastball averaged about 89.8 MPH in 2009 compared to 90.4 MPH in 2010. He has also been throwing his curveball much more at a rate of 11.9% this season compared to 2.7% in 2009. What’s also interesting is the change in speed. While his fastball seems to have picked up an additional 0.6 MPH on average, his curveball has gone from 79.1 MPH in 2009 to 77.8 MPH in 2010. It’s a small difference, but certainly enough to fool hitters.
His 2009 numbers would have shown a difference of 10.7 MPH between his fastball and curveball, while his 2010 numbers show a 12.6 MPH difference. That’s almost 2 miles per hour. That may not seem like much to the average fan, but the bigger difference between pitches does a much better job in throwing off a hitter’s timing at the plate.
Cahill’s groundball rate has also improved from 47.8% in 2009 to 53.3% in 2010. This has led to a sharp decrease in home runs allowed. In 2009 he allowed one every 28.6 batters he faced. In 2010, Cahill allows a home run every 37.1 batters. Essentially, he allowed about 1 every game last year and one every two out of three games this season.
It is clear that Trevor Cahill has improved his numbers this year. By reading this article, I hope you understand how and why he has managed to improve those numbers. The only thing I would like to know is how did he manage to increase the velocity on his fastball? Is it something he worked on, or should we expect to see that velocity drop as the season goes on?