Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Trevor Cahill, SP

At the start of last season, Trevor Cahill was an unknown commodity. The Oakland A's 2006 top pick threw only nine innings in his pro debut season, so there wasn't much of a book on the right-hander. However, it didn't take long for Cahill to establish himself as one of the A's top prospects. He dominated the Midwest League and had a 2.73 ERA in 105 innings. On Saturday, we caught-up with Cahill.

Trevor Cahill has been on a roll since about mid-season last year and that good work continued in his first start of the 2008 season. The 20-year-old right-hander had an impressive debut for the Stockton Ports on Sunday. He threw seven shut-out innings, allowing only two hits and striking out four.

That Sunday start was Cahill's 10th straight outing where he has allowed one or fewer runs, a streak that extends back to July 18, 2007. Cahill was the Midwest League's best pitcher during the month of August last year, posting an 0.74 ERA and helping the Kane County Cougars almost make the playoffs. He finished the year with an 11-4 record and a 2.73 ERA. Cahill struck-out 117 batters in 105.1 innings. He earned the A's 2007 Organizational Pitcher of the Year award for his efforts.

On Saturday, we spoke to Cahill about what he learned from his 2007 season...

OaklandClubhouse: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make during your first full season?

Trevor Cahill: It was mostly just getting comfortable with the league and all of the guys. It was important for me to find a routine. Pitching every fifth day kind of gets hard, especially for us young guys because we aren't used to throwing that much. I haven't been pitching that long, so last season I really just concentrated on finding a routine and letting my arm get stronger and getting used to the schedule. Once that happened, everything kind of just fell into place.

OC: You really picked it up at the end of last season. I think you had an ERA under 1.00 (actually 0.74) for the month of August. What was it like to be in a groove like that?

TC: It's really just all about building off of your last start. Every time out there, you get some momentum and some confidence. Then the next time you are out there, you have the confidence that you did well the last time. I just found a groove and stuck with it. I was lucky enough to finish the season strong.

OC: I think you were working on a change-up last season. How is that coming along?

TC: When I got drafted, I didn't really have a change-up. I started to add one pretty much right when I got signed. I worked on it from that point on and when I got to spring training last season, it was a lot better. I used it all season and it got better throughout the year. Now it is one of my better pitches.

OC: Is there anything that you worked on during this most recent Instructional League season that you plan to bring into this year?

TC: Mostly I just worked on fastball command and throwing more strikes. I was focusing on trying to get more guys to put the ball into play and to rely on my defense to help me get outs. It was also good because I got a lot more experience by going out there and pitching at instructs. I really worked on all of my pitches during instructs. It was a lot of polishing up of my stuff, I guess you'd say.

OC: Was it easier to go through spring training this time around having gone through it once before?

TC: Yeah, definitely. Last year, I felt like I had something to prove and I made the mistake of coming out in my first outing trying to throw as hard as I can. After the season, I realized that there are another 140 games after spring training, so I tried to take this year's spring training a little easier and tried to pace myself. My main goals this spring were just to try to stay healthy and get my arm ready for the season.

OC: Are you glad to be back in California this season having grown up in the state?

TC: Yeah. This is not a part of California that I have ever been to, but the weather is better than Illinois.

OC: Are your parents going to be able to watch you pitch this season?

TC: Yeah. When we go to play the Southern division, most of those teams play within a couple of hours of my house, so they'll probably come out for those games.

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