A League of His Own - Matt Cain

A simple statement of truth or cheap publicity trick to get more readers? Hey, you're reading, aren't you? But it isn't exaggeration. Cain has only a month of major league experience under his belt (Albeit one in which he led NL starters in batting average against), but is guaranteed a rotation spot. Pretty much every Giants fan knew who he was long before he was called up. That really puts Matt Cain in a league of his own.

Matt Cain
Date of Birth: 10/1/1984 Position: P Height: 6'3 Weight: 230 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st Round (#25 Overall) of the 2002 Draft
2005 Stats
Fresno - AAA 10 5 4.39 26 26 0 145.2 118 77 71 22 73 176 .218 0.60
San Francisco - MLB 2 1 2.33 7 7 0 46.1 24 12 12 4 19 30 .151 0.51

Yes, technically Matt Cain qualifies to be on the prospect list, but let's face it, he's a whole different type of prospect.  He is guaranteed to start the season with a rotation spot, and if you're a Giants fan and don't know who he is, you need to come out of your cave on Yerba Buena Island.  Even then, you probably heard the cheers for him last September.

Of course, giving him this status could also be a cheap publicity ploy to get more readers.  Mea culpa.

The bottom line is that Matt Cain is the real deal.  He is quite possibly the most talented prospect the Giants have had in their system since moving to San Francisco, and is certainly the most exciting amongst quite a talented group of pitchers that have come up since the move to Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T Park.

Like you need us to tell you about it, Cain finally made his long-awaited major league debut, and did fairly well.  Although in his major league debut against Colorado he ended up with a loss in 5 innings, he allowed only 2 runs and had an epic 14 pitch at bat against Todd Helton.  He went on to allow only a .148 BA in September, leading major league starters in the month.  And he did this while pitching the most innings in a season in his career, and without his best stuff.

Things could get even better for Cain.  What the Giants didn't see was Cain's impressive hard curve that made many AAA batters look silly.  Although Cain had some well-publicized control problems, in several starts, he showed more consistent location with the curveball than his fastball.

What does 2006 hold?  Personally, I'm holding out for the Rookie of the Year award, but realistically, Cain will have some troubles.  There are some control issues, and he gave up more home runs than ideal in AAA, and got hit with a couple in his short major league stint last year.  But overall, expect Cain to establish himself as a major league force to be reckoned with.

The long-term looks even brighter for Cain.  He's one of the few prospects who has gone from draft to the majors keeping his top prospect status, and expectations couldn't be higher.  But he looks very much like a future ace.

For fun, compare and contrast Cain and ‘King' Felix Hernandez over the season.  They were rival ace prospects in the Pacific Coast League in 2005, and could easily be a pair of Rookie of the Year award winners.

So, now you know about the Giants Top 50 (+1) Prospects.  Now you're ready for the 2006 season, both in the majors and the minors.  Good luck!

Have any questions about these prospects, or perhaps some we haven't named? SFDugout.com will be answering your questions throughout this series! Send your questions to sfdugout@yahoo.com!

Love me, hate me, idolize me, or laugh at me, just don't ignore me. Let me know what you think: write me at kevin@ugcfilms.com .

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