With weekly assignments becoming seemingly important and mandatory, here's my one bold prediction for the Oakland Athletics in 2010: Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill will combine to win at least 25 games in 2010.
In 2009 the Oakland A's featured a very young, talented, but inexperienced pitching staff. Of the five starters, both Anderson and Cahill were considered potential front of the rotation starters.
While both starters experienced their share of struggles, they did make strides in becoming better pitchers in the second half of 2009.
Brett Anderson, 22, went 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA in 175.1 innings.
While those numbers are pretty solid for a rookie, they do not reflect upon the immense first-half struggles experienced by Anderson.
Anderson won four games from April through June and compiled a first-half ERA of 5.46. It definitely seemed as though Anderson wasn't quite ready for the big leagues.
However, as the season went on, Anderson's composure improved, as did his confidence in his pitching repertoire.
As a result, during July, a month where he allowed just seven runs in 33.2 innings (1.87 ERA) it became apparent that he had the stuff to compete with the some of the league's best players.
From July through to the rest of the season, Anderson compiled a 7-4 record with a 2.93 ERA. His second-half performance led to him becoming a candidate for the 2009 ROY Award.
Anderson's fellow teammate and rookie, Trevor Cahill, compiled a 10-13 record along with an ERA of 4.63 in 178.2 innings.
Cahill actually experienced a decent first half, but it's what he learned in the second half of the season that really prepares him well for the 2010 campaign.
Cahill opened up the season with a 4.39 ERA along with five wins (April through June).
Although he didn't make the drastic strides like Anderson did in the second half, Cahill managed to win five games and learned an important lesson:
Keep the ball down in the strike zone.
Cahill is blessed with a nasty sinker, but in 2009 he had a tendency to leave the ball up in the strike zone.
As a result, he was rocked for 27 homers, an Oakland rookie record.
He gave up 12 homers in the last three months compared to 15 during the season's first three months—which is a sign of improvement.
With as much success as both experienced last season, it's not ridiculous to say that Anderson and Cahill will combine to win at least 25 games in 2010.
The two combined managed to win 21, so predicting an additional four wins isn't too far-fetched. I see Anderson winning 15 games, and Cahill should at the very least match last season's total of 10.
If you want to get really crazy about it, however, I'd say barring no injuries, these two could potentially combine to win 30 games.
Well, what do you think? Can Oakland depend on these two for future success? Which pitcher is better?