The Giants' revamped staff, headed up by Madison Bumgarner, now features two new acquisitions in Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to round out a strong top three.
But San Francisco still has talent on the back end of its rotation. One of those players in starter Matt Cain, whom broadcaster and former Giant Mike Krukow is very high on going into the season.
“Everything I see with him going right now is positive ... he’s reborn,” Krukow told KNBR. “He’s got it back.
"He’s pushing the envelope right now. He’s hit the 90-pitch level after three starts. You don’t normally do that until the fifth start. He wants to be a part of this Opening Day team, he wants that start against the Dodgers," Krukow added.
Cain, 31, started just 11 games in 2015 — the least amount since his rookie year in 2005 — and finished with a career-worst 5.79 ERA.
He was hampered by a flexor tendon strain last year, which saw him hit the disabled list. Over the last two years, Cain has had three surgeries, including one to remove a cyst from his throwing arm this offseason.
The three-time All-Star put in work this spring to come back, and Krukow came away impressed — eager to see what could come in the regular season.
“It’s so exciting to watch him come back to life after he's been kind of on the sidelines the last couple of years," Krukow said. "And I really think he is going to be the Comeback Player of the Year.”
"He's got his arm slot back. He has the control in his throwing motion again. His fastball is right around 89-91 (MPH), that's going to get better. I mean, he still hasn't gotten the power on the fastball back from this spring. But I think you're going to see that fastball get up around 91-94 (MPH), which he's always been around. We've seen 94 a few times this spring, but I think you're going to see it more consistently more as he gets that arm strength going into the season.
"Imagine if he gets back to where he was...You've got potential five aces."