• Matt Cain

    Posted by on October 29th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    If you liked what Matt Cain has done in his career to date, including last night, here’s a Yankeeland thought for you.

    The Giants drafted Cain with the 25th overall pick in the 2002 draft. The Yankees had the 24th overall pick in that draft, and could have beat San Francisco to Cain. But, they lost that pick to the A’s when they signed Jason Giambi as a free agent.

    But, this is all old news here, right?

    Comments on Matt Cain

    1. Jim TreshFan
      October 29th, 2010 | 10:14 am

      Had the Yankees raised Cain I’m sure he would have been developed into a mediocre middle reliever ala Joba Chamberlain.

    2. October 29th, 2010 | 10:37 am

      You know, when I was in my late teens and early twenties, I tried to take great care of my hair. I rarely used the blow dryer. Never put any products in my hair like gels and the like. I thought “I don’t want to abuse and kill it, etc.” Guess what? When I was about 25 or 26, I started to lose it and today I’m bald.

      Looking back, I should have not worried so much about abusing it – because it was going to go anyway.

      And, at times, with these young pitchers, I’m starting to think the same way – might as well use them, and reap the benefits, and not baby them. Because, even if you do “have rules” to protect them, it’s not a lock that they’re going to still have any value after they’re 27 or 28.

      Now, I’m not saying make them throw 160 pitches in a game or throw 311 innings in a season. But, for sure, don’t baby them the way the Yankees handled Joba and the others.

    3. Jim TreshFan
      October 29th, 2010 | 10:53 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Here’s the compare:
      Matt Cain (6’3″, 230 lbs) was called up about a month before his 21st birthday. He went 5 innings in his 1st start, 7 innings in his 2nd start, and the full 9 in his 3rd start.
      Joba Chamberlain (6’2″, 230 lbs) was called up about a month before his 22nd birthday. He faced 8 batters in his 1st appearance, 6 batters in his 2nd appearance, and 3 batters in his 3rd appearance.
      Which organization went in the right direction here?

    4. October 29th, 2010 | 10:57 am

      IIRC, ‘tho, Cain was drafted out of HS and had more time in the minors than Joba. I think, not 100% sure. Maybe a better compare would be Hughes.

    5. Mr. Sparkle
      October 29th, 2010 | 1:09 pm

      @ Jim TreshFan:
      Actually, if the Yankees drafted Cain, he’d still be limited to 150 IP and they’d be deciding if he were a starter or reliever while posting a 5.60 ERA. Then, they’d end up trading him for a utility infielder.

    6. BOHAN
      October 29th, 2010 | 1:48 pm

      def wouldve messed him up… this whole new outlook on young pitchers is ridiculous… there’s no way of stopping pitchers from getting hurt if they’re going to get hurt they’re going to get hurt. putting limitations on these pitchers ends up hurting them in the long run in my opinion. they neverlearn to throw through dead arm and everytime the hit that wall and try to come back they just hit it again. and they never learn how to pitch through tough situations.

    7. Evan3457
      October 29th, 2010 | 4:43 pm

      Poor logic in the extreme. And it doesn’t even matter if the Yanks had tried to develop Cain, if they even drafted him with that pick in the 1st place. At the time, the Yanks downplayed the draft, stessing signability and ability to reach the majors quickly over long-term ceiling.
      Jason Giambi was the best hitting 1st baseman in baseball when the Yanks signed him, coming off 2 MVP type seasons. Tino Martinez’ contract was up and he was on the downhill side. They had just come off a World Series in which they were dominated by the entire D’backs starting staff, and barely stayed in the series because Bob Brenly coughed up a couple of Byun-Hyung Kims. And to repair a big hole on the team, and to keep going along the path of trying to win the title every season had the GM not gone after Giambi, the owner, who knew very little of winning any other way, would’ve fired him, and hired another GM to get him his big bat.

      He broke down over steroids and was still a valuable hitter in more than half of the 8 years he was on the team.

      And in spite of this, the move to sign Giambi is a perfectly defensible move, as the great majority of 24th picks of the 1st round don’t produce anywhere near the value Giambi did over his 8 years with the team.

      That Cain is exceptionally value at this moment is all but irrelevant to the proper evaluation of the move…well, let’s look at it this way…


      24th picks in and around 2002

      1997: Glenn Davis, 1B, Dogers; Career WAR: 0 (Never made the majors)
      1998: Nate Bump, P, Giants; Career WAR: -0.7 (That’s right, the same org, and the same pick just 4 years before was a complete bust.)
      1999: Mike McDougal, P, Royals; Career WAR: 2.6
      2000: Scott Heard, C, Rangers; Career WAR: 0 (Bust, never made majors)
      2001: Bobby Crosby, SS, A’s; Career WAR: 5.5 (Coulda been better, but we ain’t playin’ couldas.)
      2002: Cain; Career WAR to date; 20.9
      2003: Bradley Sullivan, P, A’s; Career WAR: 0 (Bust, never made majors)
      2004: Steven Waldrop, P, Twins; Career WAR: 0 (Bust, never made majors)
      2005: Matt Garza, P, Twins; Career WAR: 7.6 (Likely to go much higher) 2006: Hank Conger, C, Angers; Career WAR: 0 (Just made majors this year; seems likely to have significant value as a hitter)
      2007: Aaron Poreda, P, White Sox; Career War: 0.3 (Likely to go higher)

      Combined WAR of all 11 25th picks: 36.2 WAR; Average: 3.3

      Jason Giambi’s WAR in his 8 seasons with the Yanks: 24.9

      His WAR in his decline phase with the Yanks is STILL higher than Cain’s career WAR.(this may change by next year). It is vastly higher than the total career WAR of the other 10 #25 picks on the list. And it isn’t all bad talent evaluating teams making these picks: 2 by the Twins, 2 by the A’s, 1 by the Angels, 1 by the White Sox.


      Now, the 25th picks may well get the upper hand; although this year’s #25 (Zach Cox) is considered to already be a potential bust, last year’s #25 (Mike Trout), is already considered to be one of the top 5 prospects in baseball.

      And where did the Angels get that 25th pick from? From the Yankees, for signing Mark Teixiera.

      Was it worth it? Well, Tex did help them win a title last year. And if Trout leads the Angels to a title or two, don’t whine about it. That’s the price for the organizational credo of needing to “win it all every year”.

      The same thinking went into the signing of Giambi. And it is sophistry, and pretty damn whiny, too compain about it now.

    8. MJ Recanati
      October 29th, 2010 | 6:07 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      That. Every bit of that. Well done, sir.

    9. Raf
      October 29th, 2010 | 11:50 pm

      Jim TreshFan wrote:

      Had the Yankees raised Cain

      This deserves a thumbs up. Didn’t want to let it slide after I noticed it this morning 😀

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