In response to my post to Jason Cole about the purported connection between Main's illness and his shitty season, he responded as such:
Posted: Today 1:39 AM
Re: Wilmer Font in the BA chat today
Okay, first off, I said "since it appears"
And secondly, I asked the question to Dave Chavarria, his pitching coach and the man in charge of him for the entire season. The 99% thing is a quote from him. I'm sorry if you aren't going to trust the coaches, but you should read the interviews before calling me out.
Here is the quote: Cole: Michael Main has been gone for awhile, but I’d like to talk about him for a second. How much do you think his struggles this year were more attributed to just not having the strength because of the sickness?
Chavarria: I think probably 99 percent of it was. I don’t care who you are—whether you’re in the big leagues or in Arizona in rookie ball—if you’re sick and going out there and battling, you don’t have the strength that you normally do.
We kind of saw that in his fastball. His fastball kind of dropped a little bit. Last year, he was 93-94 and all of the sudden it’s 88-90. When you’re not used to throwing at that velocity, you try and do more. You try and grind out things more.
For me, I think his whole season was based on him being sick and not being able to get over it. But next year, or in instructional league hopefully, he’s bouncing back really well. Hopefully he gets himself back to form, where he was a year and a half ago in instructional league and he’s off to the races again.
He has the type of stuff that goes from him maybe starting back here next year and then within about five or six starts, who knows? He could be on the fast track, where he was. He has that type of stuff and he has that mental toughness in him.
Main's velocity had been down pretty much the entire season and he didn't appear as strong as normal.
The loss of strength was something that came long before he realized he was sick. It wasn't rashes or anything of the sort that made him [and the organization] realize he was sick. But I'd rather not go into that information because it's not really for public disclosure.
Main has more than his share of issues on the mound and I haven't been as high as most are on him, so no, I don't think him struggling has to be sickness. But we're talking about a guy who has consistently worked low-to-mid-90s in just about every single outing since becoming a professional. Then he comes into Bakersfield and suddenly has little command and a huge drop in velocity, then he is diagnosed with the sickness. He gets better, comes back, and he was low-to-mid-90s in the AZL, in the late-season stint with Bakersfield, and that's where he's sitting again in instructs. All signs point to [in addition to what Chavarria says] the sickness being the primary cause for struggles.
I'll simply ignore the fact that Cole failed to properly attribute Chavarria as his source until his rebuttal.
Be that as it may, given the fact that Chavarria's account doesn't jive with the claims of either article that came out ~July 19th - articles in which they both interviewed Main directly - I'm reserving judgement until Main sets the story straight himself. What seems clear from Cole's response, is that the connection is still being inferred (secondary parties, ad hoc evidence) and has yet to be confirmed by Main himself. Cole also implies that some aspects of the issue are not for the public so maybe the hoped for interview with Main at instructs to clarify what, if any, relation exists between his illness and performance this season will never be take place. That's ok with me really, as its the discursive analysis of this "rumored causation" that interests me in the end; the assumption that there was a connection at all persisted for 3 months before Cole's inteview with Chavarria. And of course, this particular analysis can be situated in the larger universe of my project to undermine any and all prospect homerism; I am the grinch who stole prospect cheer.