Cahill Looks To Build Off Rough First Start

Last year, the Oakland Athletics made quite an investment. With their first selection in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft, they chose Trevor Cahill in the second round. Cahill, just an 18-year-old high school senior at the time, had already accepted a scholarship to play ball for Dartmouth.

Immediately, Trevor Cahill faced a life-altering decision, yet one that wasn't hard for him to make. Instead of going to college like thousands of high school seniors do, he decided to pass on attending Dartmouth and go straight to the A's farm teams.

"I just wanted to start professional baseball as soon as possible," said Cahill.

"The best coaches in baseball are at these levels and I think I'm learning a lot more here."

The 6'3'' right-hander throws a plethora of pitches including a fastball, change-up, slider and knuckle-curve. His fastball, which typically ranges from 88-92 mph, was his go-to pitch in high school.

During Cahill's senior year in high school, he struck out 109 in just 66.2 innings of work, nearly two batters per inning. But now that he's playing against better competition, Cahill has realized that you need more than just a strong fastball to flourish.

"In high school I just tried to throw the ball by people," said Cahill.

"Here you have to learn how to pitch because everybody can hit a fastball."

Not only did Cahill need to learn about different pitches, but he also had to learn the appropriate situations in which those pitches should be thrown.

It was in this spirit that the organization sent their top prospect directly to the instructional leagues. There, Cahill worked on mechanics, game like situations, and his overall baseball IQ.

"There's a lot more to pitching than I thought," admits Cahill. "I learned so much about getting batters off-balance. I've really learned how to throw finesse pitches. I rely on my change-up a lot more now."

Soon, Cahill was ready for the next level and was sent-up to the A's Arizona league affiliate. In 2006, Cahill started four games striking out 11 and yielding three earned runs in nine innings of work.

Recently, Cahill was called up again, this time moving to the low-A Kane Country Cougars. In a highly anticipated first outing, Cahill struggled.

Because the organization is taking great caution with their young prospect's arm, Cahill was taken out of the game in the first inning due to a high pitch count. The rookie recorded two outs while surrendering three runs on three hits, while he struck out one. While the outing showed promise, it also showed how far Cahill still has a way to go.

"I struggled a little bit and it was a lot shorter than I wanted it to be," said Cahill about his first start.

"There's a little bit more pressure on me to do well. There's a lot of people I don't want to let down."

Although Cahill is 0-1 with an inflated ERA (40.50), he should have many better days. What makes it difficult, however, is that his position requires him to wait a week before proving it.

"The hard thing about pitching is you struggle and you have five days to sit on it," added Cahill.

"A hitter can go 0-4 and hit well the next day and no one will remember it. In high school, if I pitched bad, I could go out and hit but I can't do that here."

Only time will tell if the organization will gain dividends from their investment. And though Cahill had a rough start, like all great pitchers, he has tremendous confidence.

"The coaches just told me to keep my head up," said Cahill. "I just need to do the things I know I can do and I'll be fine."

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