Lorenzo Lamar Cain (born April 13, 1986) is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Milwaukee Brewers drafted him in the 17th round of the 2004 MLB draft from Tallahassee Community College in Florida. In 2010, Cain made his MLB debut, and, following the season, the Brewers traded him to Kansas City with three other players for pitcher Zack Greinke.
Four years later, he placed in the top 10 in the American League in batting average (.301) and stolen bases (28). Known for his defensive acrobatics, he has won two Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards for outfielders and one Fielding Bible Award. Further, he won the 2014 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award due in part to his defensive play.
Cain's father died when Lorenzo was four years old. His mother, Patricia, raised him and his brother, and still works at a printing plant in Madison, Florida.
In contrast to most professional ballplayers, Cain did not start playing baseball until his sophomore year in Florida's Madison County High School. He only did so, he said, when he was not chosen for the school basketball team. At the time, Cain didn't even have a baseball glove.
Cain was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 17th round of the 2004 amateur draft out of Tallahassee Community College. He began his career in 2005, playing for their Rookie League Helena Brewers and AZL Brewers. In 2006, he was promoted to the Class A West Virginia Power, where he was named to the South Atlantic League's mid and post-season All-Star teams.
Cain was promoted to their Class A-Advanced Brevard County Manatees in 2007. Beginning the 2008 season in Brevard County, Cain was called up to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds on June 10 to replace outfielder Hernán Iribarren, who was recalled by Milwaukee.
Cain was called up to the Brewers when pitcher Doug Davis was placed on the disabled list on July 16, 2010. He made his major league debut against the Atlanta Braves that evening as a pinch-hitter. He was robbed of a hit in his first at-bat due to a diving catch by Braves left fielder Matt Diaz. Two days later, in his next at bat in that same series, he got his first major league hit. He then replaced CF Carlos Gómez for the rest of the game and finished the game 2 for 2 with two singles.
Kansas City Royals
On December 18, 2010, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals with Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jake Odorizzi for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt. Cain was sent down to KC's AAA ball club,the Omaha Storm Chasers, before the start of the 2011 MLB season. On February 18, 2012 the Royals announced they had signed Cain to a one-year contract for the 2012 season. No financial terms of the deal were released.
Cain began 2013 as the starting center fielder, with Jarrod Dyson as the backup. Around late June, Dyson started getting more starts. On August 10, Cain was placed on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, When he returned on September 4, Cain had 14 more starts on the season, 7 in right and 7 in center field. In 115 games (106 starts), Cain hit .251/.310/.348 with 4 HR, 46 RBI and 14 SB.
In the 2014 season, Cain finished the regular season hitting .301/.339/.412 with five HR (one inside the park), four triples, 29 doubles, 28 SB, 46 RBI, and 55 runs in 133 games. Both his batting average and stolen base total placed eighth in the AL. He notched twice as many infield hits as he had the year before – this as a result of the work he had done with Al Hobson, track coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College to improve his base-running sprint speed.
The Royals made the playoffs for the first time since winning the 1985 World Series. In the Division Series, Cain's defensive play in center field – featuring four spectacular catches in two games – was widely credited with helping the Royals sweep the highly favored Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
In Game 2 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) against the Baltimore Orioles, Cain added to his postseason highlight reel with yet another stunning, extra-base hit-stealing grab, this one of a J. J. Hardy line drive to right center field in the 6th inning to preserve a 4–4 tie. At the plate, he went 4-for-5, tying George Brett's franchise record for most hits in a postseason game, and drove in a 9th-inning run that helped seal the Royals' 6-4 victory over the Orioles, their sixth consecutive win in the 2014 postseason. Cain ultimately ended up winning the ALCS Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) award for his efforts at the plate as well as in the field. He finished with a .533 batting average, eight hits, five runs, and numerous spectacular defensive plays which helped the Royals to sweep the Orioles and move on to the World Series.
His defensive prowess continued in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants, where he made a catch at the wall in Game 1. Cain made two more spectacular diving catches in Game 3 to help preserve a 3-2 victory for the Royals. In the crucial Game 6, in which the Royals face elimination, Cain went 2-for-3, with a single, double, and two walks, driving in three runs while making another running catch in Kansas City's 10-0 rout of the Giants to force a Game 7. However, the Giants won Game 7 and the World Series.
During a game against the Chicago White Sox on April 23, 2015, Cain was one of five players ejected for being involved in a bench-clearing brawl. On April 25, 2015, Cain was suspended 2 games. He had the option to appeal but dropped it on May 3, 2015, so the suspension would take effect. In 2015, Cain was named to his first All Star team and helped lead the Royals to the 2015 AL Central Division title. He finished the regular season with career highs in batting average (.307), home runs (16), runs scored (101), and RBIs (72). Cain's three-RBI performance in game 5 of the World Series helped the Royals take a 7-2 win and clinch the championship over the New York Mets.
Awards and honors
- 2015 World Series Champion
- 2015 All-Star
- 2014 2014 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award
- 2006 South Atlantic League (SAL) Post-Season All-Star
- 2006 SAL Mid-Season All-Star
- 2005 Topps Short-Season/Rookie All-Star
- 2005 Topps AZL Player of the Year
- 2005 Baseball America Rookie All-Star
- 2005 Arizona League (AZL) Most Valuable Player
- 2005 AZL Post-Season All-Star
Cain and his wife Jenny have two sons, Cameron, born October 2014, and Jayden, born January 2016.