2014 Diamondbacks Expectations: Trevor Cahill

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Today, it's youthful looking sinkerballer, Trevor Cahill

The past five years

Year W L ERA G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP bWAR
2009 10 13 4.63 32 178.2 185 99 92 27 72 90 95 1.438 1.8
2010 18 8 2.97 30 196.2 155 73 65 19 63 118 138 1.108 4.0
2011 12 14 4.16 34 207.2 214 102 96 19 82 147 96 1.425 2.7
2012 13 12 3.78 32 200.0 184 93 84 16 74 156 108 1.290 2.6
2013 8 10 3.99 26 146.2 143 70 65 13 65 102 96 1.418 0.7
5-yr Ave 12
11
3.89 31
186.0
176
87
80
17
71
123
105 1.331 1.7

2014 projections

System W L ERA G IP H R ER HR BB SO K/9
WHIP WAR
Steamer 12 11 4.11 32 182.0
181 91 83 12 73
133 6.69 1.40 2.1
Oliver 11 9
4.00
32 184.0 181 89 82 18 74
136 6.64
1.38 1.3
ZIPS

4.04 30
178.1 175 86
80
17
69
131 6.61
1.37 2.1
PECOTA

4.01
28
160.0 149


17
56
113
6.36
1.28 1.0

That sinking feeling

Cahill definitely had a disappointing 2013. Coming in with a career ERA+ to that point of 107, a figure roughly matched during his first season with the Diamondbacks (108), he put up an ERA+ last year of just 96: So, what changed for Trevor? The one thing we can't blame is "luck," with an identical BABIP for both seasons of .295. virtually at the MLB average of .297. However, the main cause seemed to be significantly better contact being made by opposing hitters. Cahill's line-drive percentage for 2012 was a very respectable 14%, but ballooned all the way up to 22% in 2013.

That's interesting, because normally, such a drastic change in line-drive rate would lead to an increase for batting average on balls in play - line-drives are much more likely to be hits that fly- or ground-balls. [Last year across all of MLB, about two-thirds of line-drives became hits, compared to one-quarter of ground-balls, and less than one-tenth of fly-balls] However, for Cahill, the increase in the raw amount of line-drives was countered by a lower BA for other balls in play.. In particular, his BABIP for fly-balls was a mere .049, barely half the MLB average (.095). Those are likely to regress to the mean in 2014, so the same number of line-drives could spell trouble.

It wasn't that hitters were being particularly aggressive. Indeed, this year, the percentage of times they swung at his offerings decreased by a small amount, dropping from 41.9% to 41.1%. However, that overall number conceals a split: it was powered entirely by a sharp decrease in swings at pitches out of the zone, from 29.5% to 26.9%, in the zone, hitters actually swung more often, increasing from 57.3% to 59.1%. And when they swung, they didn't miss as much, in or out of the zone: 18.5% of the time, down from 22.2%. It looks like Cahill's pitches weren't fooling as many batters in 2013 as they had done in 2012, with his K-rate down and the walk-rate up.

It's certainly true that his overall numbers were impacted by his wretched June: over those six starts, he went 0-5 with a 9.85 ERA and a line against of .364/.435/.598. A six-week trip to the DL followed, though that should carry forward, the result of a freak injury after he was hit on the hip by a comebacker - his first DL stint since the beginning of the 2010 campaign. However, Cahill's struggles were already pronounced at the time of that incident, having allowed 15 earned runs over the 14.2 prior innings. But, for whatever reason, the time off seemed to do the trick, and Trevor pitched much better after his return, with a 2.70 ERA during his final nine appearances of the season.

So, there's some evidence in both directions here. Optimists can say, "If he just avoids that sucky June, he'll have an ERA around three." Pessimists can point to the decline in Cahill's peripherals, and worry that, at the grand old age of 25 (he turns 26 on the first of next month), his best days are already behind him. Regardless, he's under full team control for the next two seasons, at a total cost of about four million dollars less than Bronson Arroyo. Put that way, it doesn't seem so bad, does it? But if the Diamondbacks are to exercise the team options for 2016 and 2017, they will probably want more out of Trevor than they saw last season.

This article is part of our 2014 Diamondbacks expectations series - check out the other entries. As we go through spring, we'll have a series of pieces looking at each of the players likely to be on the 25-man roster for the home opener. It's an open forum, to discuss expectations, hopes, fears and their potential contribution to the 2014 season.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join AZ Snake Pit

You must be a member of AZ Snake Pit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at AZ Snake Pit. You should read them.

Join AZ Snake Pit

You must be a member of AZ Snake Pit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at AZ Snake Pit. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker