Trevor Cahill Debuts

The scouting reports on Trevor Cahill suggests that he throws a heavy fastball in the 89-92 range, a knuckle curve, and a change-up while inducing a boatload of groundballs. Well, at least some of that shined through as Cahill made his major league debut on Tuesday night versus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Cahill opened the game with a 26 pitch first and had problems finding the zone, an issue that would plague him for most of the night. Cahill would go on to have two additional 20+ pitch innings, and finished with 102 in total. That was enough to get him through five innings, five walks, and a handful of swinging strikes. Cahill also failed to generate the type of groundballs shown in the minors. A 5.59 FIP is based on that poor strikeout/walk ratio, although it’s pointless to read anything into one start.

A few Pitchfx observations, sans graphs:

Cahill’s fastballs ride up and in to right-handed hitters, although a few were flatter and straighter than you would like.

Location was definitely the biggest issue with Cahill. Given his minor league track record I’m willing to accept most of this was nerves related, but goodness 55% strikes is not good. This does not seem to be an issue with a single pitch either.

All and all, Cahill appeared to make a conscious effort in pitching away from left-handed hitters, while attacking the entire zone versus righties.

Is Cahill ready to be in a major league rotation? It’s far too early to tell. There are some positives and negatives to take from his first start, but the sooner he finds some more command, the quicker he’ll become successful.

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In the minors he had 50 walks in 124 innings. That is not terrible control if that rate was in the majors, but if he’s doing that at the A/AA level, it translates into control problems in the big leagues. CHONE and ZIPS project him to walk more than 5 per 9 innings.

He may show improvement in the future, but his poor control in his debut should have been expected.