Unread for 5/30
I have both John Maine and Matt Cain on my staff. I’m not overly thrilled with either but wanted your opinion on who is more valuable moving forward in 08. I’ll probably end up trading one as I’m heavy at SP.
Ryan in St. Louis
Are you so heavy at starting pitcher that you can’t keep both these guys? You say you aren’t “overly thrilled,” but it’s not as if either pitcher has been terrible.
Maine struck out 180 batters in 191 innings last season while maintaining a 3.91 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. He’s showing similar strikeout ability this season (48 Ks in 58 innings) and has already posted seven quality starts. His ground ball-to-fly ball ratio has improved (26-to-43 in his first five starts, 38-to-35 in his last five starts). He has allowed only two home runs in his last six starts, and despite giving up seven earned runs in his latest two outings, at Atlanta and Colorado, both hitter’s parks, his 3.41 ERA is still very healthy.
Despite some ugly averages (4.43 ERA and 1.40 WHIP), Cain is one of the better buy-low pitcher candidates. His K/9 rate, 7.9, is an improvement on last years’ 7.3 rate, but perhaps the most promising stats are his pre- and post-All Star splits from the past two seasons:
Pre-All Star 5.12 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 7.9 K/9 rate
Post-All Star 3.26 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.0 K/9 rate
Pre-All Star 3.53 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 6.8 K/9 rate
Post-All Star 3.79 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 8.1 K/9 rate
Both these starters are worth keeping, but taking a look at Maine’s pre- and post-All Star splits from last season, his first full run in the bigs, (2.71 ERA and 1.14 WHIP before the break, 5.53 ERA and 1.45 WHIP after) might make you lean toward keeping Cain and shopping Maine. That isn’t such a bad idea anyway, since Maine has better overall stats right now and could probably fetch you more value in return.
Kyle Stack, MLB.com