Trevor Cahill keeping company with elite crowd of pitchers
Clayton Kershaw, a future 300-game winner?
We’re telling you there’s a chance.
This exercise in statistical whimsy is brought to you by Randy Johnson’s election into baseball’s Hall of Fame last week. According to research done by FOX Sports baseball insider Jon Paul Morosi and facilitated by baseball-reference.com, 22 current major league pitchers — including the Diamondbacks’ Cahill — have more victories than Johnson did after his age-26 season. Johnson was 24-24 with a 1.395 WHIP at that stage of his career, having yet to harness the electric fastball/slider combination that was to lead him to 303 victories, 4,875 career strikeouts and the Hall of Fame voters’ acknowledgement as the best left-hander in major league history.
Kershaw is way ahead of Johnson’s pace, with 98 victories and three Cy Young awards after his age-26 season, with right-hander Rick Porcello (76) and left-hander Bumgarner (67) are second and third on the list.
That would be Cahill, who has won 64 in six major league seasons in a career that began with the Oakland A’s in 2009, when he was 21. Cahill turned it up in 2010, winning 18 games, and had double-digit victories in his first four years, including his first in Arizona, when was 13-12 in 2012.
In the last two seasons, however, Cahill is a combined 11-22, and to say he struggled when he was 3-12 with a 5.61 ERA last season is putting it mildly. His stuff is not Johnson’s. Cahill relies on a heavy sinking fastball that has been compared to the one thrown by Brandon Webb.
Surprisingly, he’s still only 26, the same age the light bulb turned on for the Big Unit. So despite the fact that Cahill appears to be on the outside looking in for a spot in the 2015 entering spring training, if you’re looking for a bright side, history suggests a positive turn could be only an adjustment or two away.
Sustaining it through age 45? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.