Cahill makes strides in second season 

July, 19, 2010

Oakland Athletics starter Trevor Cahill was one of my sleepers entering the season. Although his first start after the break pushed his ERA over 3, he pitched well enough in the first half to make the All-Star team in his second major league season despite not making his season debut until April 30 thanks to a problem with his nonthrowing shoulder.

When ESPN Fantasy analysts were profiling players during the preseason, here is what I wrote about the right-hander:

"As Cahill continues to learn how to throw more strikes and make the great movement on his sinker work for him at the big league level, he'll be just fine. The 21-year-old was thrust into the fire last season and wasn't quite ready. He simply didn't have command of his sinker, and with his fastball being thrown up in the zone more often than it should be, he gave up 27 homers.

But that's the last time his homers-allowed total will be that high. … With just seven appearances above Class A entering last year, we certainly can forgive some of his rookie struggles. Both the walk and strikeout rates should improve, and he'll be available for a good price in AL-only leagues. He's also another good candidate to stash away on mixed-league reserve lists with your last pick to see whether he can take that next step."

I'm pretty happy with how that call has worked out thus far. Cahill has won nine of his 16 starts with a 3.19 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. What's different about him this year, and can we expect that success to continue?