29-Year-Old Pitcher – San Francisco Giants
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Cain had a down year in 2013, as he finished the year with a 4.00 ERA and had career-lows in innings pitched (184.1), strikeouts (158), and home runs allowed (23). Many pointed to Cain historically ou...
Matt Cain Contract Information:
Signed a five-year $112.5 million extension with the Giants in April 2012. Includes club/vesting player option for 2018.
Cain was the hard-luck loser Saturday, giving up one run on four hits while striking out eight in seven innings in a 1-0 loss to the Rockies. He also walked three.
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|2014 RotoWire Projections||MAJ||Subscribe now to see our 2014 projections for Matt Cain|
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|Last 14 Days
3 Games: Avg. 6.0 IP/G
|Last 30 Days
3 Games: Avg. 6.0 IP/G
|Last 60 Days
3 Games: Avg. 6.0 IP/G
Matt Cain Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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|2014 Projections||MAJ||Subscribe now to see our 2014 projections for Matt Cain|
2014 Stat Review for Matt Cain As compared to the top 100 starting pitchers in 2013 (min 140 in)
A collection of stats that measure different skills.
A few general measures of a pitcher's effectiveness.
Balls in play avg. and % of runners left stranded.
San Francisco Giants Roster
MajorsAdrianza, Ehire (SS)
AAAAbreu, Tony (2B)
AABlackburn, Clayton (P)
A+Blach, Ty (P)
AAgosta, Martin (P)
RookieArroyo, Christian (SS)
Career Pitcher vs. Batter Stats (View All Matchup Data)
Worst Matchups for Matt Cain (by OPS against, min 17 AB)
Best Matchups for Matt Cain (by OPS against, min 17 AB)
|Eric Young Jr.||NY-N||18||2||0||1||3||6||0||.111||.111||.349|
Matt Cain: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Cain produced another typical season in 2012, producing a 2.79 ERA and a career-best walk rate of 2.1 BB/9. He improved his swinging-strike rate to a career-best 9.6 percent that helped to improve his strikeout rate to 7.9 K/9. Cain's defense independent pitching stats (DIPS) have never demonstrated his true pitching value since he has demonstrated an efficient skill in limiting his HR/FB ratio (6.8 percent career rate). Cain's average fastball velocity remained steady during the season (91.2 mph), and he should continue to be a strong option thanks to excellent ratios and an ability to shoulder a heavy workload.
Cain has now turned in essentially the same strong season three years in a row, though the one outlier in 2011 was a huge drop in home runs allowed (nine). Heís always been tough to homer against, but his 3.7 percent HR/FB was a career low, and while thatís unsustainable, note his career mark is 6.5 percent. Cainís career BABIP is also .265, so barring a change in scenery, itís safe to ignore the fact his xFIP is always much higher than his ERA. Cain dealt with some arm trouble last year in spring training, and thereís some long-term concern about him having ďloose bodiesĒ in his elbow, but thereís little concern about his short-term durability, as heís averaged 220.0 innings over the past four years. Cain has yet to win 15 games in a season in his career, but if he remains a horse while pitching like he has recently, heíll approach 20 victories one of these years.
Cain has been a remarkably similar pitcher over the past four seasons, though his 2.46 BB/9IP ratio last season was a personal-best. He's finished with a HR/FB ratio less than 8.5 percent during all six seasons he's been in the big leagues, and his career BABIP is just .274, so those who keep calling for his regression continue to be disappointed. He's now up to nearly 1,100 innings pitched in his career, so maybe Cain is an outlier in this respect. Despite not possessing overwhelming velocity (averaging 91.6 mph in 2010), Cain's fastball has been one of the best pitches in baseball over the past two years, thanks to a lot of movement and a deceptive delivery. Still just 26, Cain showed marked improvement after July ended last season, posting a 1.35 BB/9IPIP and an 8.00 K/9IPIP, and he also didnít allow a single earned run over 21.1 innings in the postseason, so a true breakout may yet be in store if that improved control carries over. He enters 2011 as the Giants' No. 2 starter, and after averaging 210.0 innings over the past five seasons since becoming a full-time starter, Cain is about as safe a fantasy pick as they come.
Cain finished with a career-high 14 wins last season as well as a career-best 2.89 ERA and 1.181 WHIP. The results occurred with a poor, albeit improved, walk rate (3.02 BB/9IP) and a declining strikeout rate (7.07 K/9IP), so Cain is a tough pitcher to project moving forward. His ERA has been much better than his peripherals suggest it should be during all four of his seasons in the majors, so some big correction isnít necessarily in store, but itís worth noting he held batters to just a .161 BAA with runners in scoring position in 2009, including a .101 BAA with RISP and two outs, which simply isnít sustainable. He also finished last year with a .268 BABIP, but his career mark is .278, so thatís becoming more of a trend than a mirage. Ultimately, Cain is a good pitcher, both durable and capable of becoming truly great if he ever improves his control. After all, heís still just 25 years old. However, the declining strikeout rate is a concern, and it might be best not to overpay for last seasonís sparkling ERA based on his shaky underlying component stats.
Cain's 2008 season was disappointing, as he finished 8-14 with a 3.76 ERA. The ERA wasn't bad, and the poor record obviously wasn't his fault, but Cain's 3.76 BB/9IP mark was the fifth worst in all of baseball, leaving him with a subpar 1.36 WHIP. His improved strikeout rate (7.69 K/9IP) was highly encouraging, but at this stage of his career, it's disappointing he's still having command problems. Cain really wore down after the All-Star break, which could be a result of him being among the league-leaders in pitches thrown. The velocity of his fastball has dipped a bit, and his secondary pitches havenít quite developed as hoped. It's possible a true breakout campaign is still in his future, but Cain is no longer San Francisco's ace.
It's easy to forget Cain is only 23 years old as last year's 3.65 ERA and 1.260 WHIP can hardly be viewed as disappointing. He still battles control problems from time to time, and of some concern is that his strikeout rate dropped in 2007. Still, he fanned 67 batters in 70 innings over the season's final two months last year, finishing strong with a 2.96 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. Thanks to terrible run support, Cain was left with a 7-16 record, which could help him come at a discount in fantasy leagues. He has terrific stuff with the mechanics and body type to be a workhorse, and pitching in AT&T Park certainly helps as well. Run support figures to remain a problem, but Cain has big time upside, making him someone to target.
Cain's rookie season was an inconsistent one, as his command often fluctuated from start to start. Still, he was baseball's best pitcher for a six-start stretch during August and September, allowing just one run over 42 innings (0.21 ERA), while fanning 43 batters, showing his enormous potential. Command is likely to remain an issue, given his 4.12 walks per nine innings, but Cain enters this year with the upside of a top-20 starter. Throwing in the pitcher-friendly NL West, Cain is definitely someone to target.
One of the top ten prospects in the game, Cain's high-90s heat and power curve make him unhittable at times. Control problems have been a concern, and certainly were in his MLB debut. Get him, but know that his '06 line may not be that special, as he continues to work on the strike zone.
Cain was promoted to Double-A Norwich in June after a great campaign at Single-A with the San Jose Giants, but he will likely require a few more seasons before he's ready for the big leagues.
Elbow problems cut his season short, but the Giants' 2002 #1 pick got it together in instructional league and is set to jump to the Cal League to start 2004. High-school pitchers often take a while to reach the majors, usually because of injury or adjustments. Cain should be no different, so his name should only be called in leagues with extremely deep farm systems.
Cain was drafted in the first round out of high school by the Giants (25th overall) in 2002. In his first taste of pro ball, he posted a 3.72 ERA in 19 innings in the Rookie league (20 K's, 11 walks, only one homer allowed, 1.24 WHIP). The Giants are high on him, but he's got a long way to go; he'll pitch somewhere in Single-A in 2003.