There was a large sense of surprise by many in the industry in January 2012, when Andrew Cashner became one of the centerpieces in a deal between the Padres and Cubs that sent Anthony Rizzo to Chicago. Selected by the Cubs in the 1st round (19) of the 2008 Draft out of TCU, Cashner was viewed by many scouts as a pitcher with electric stuff who was best suited to work out of the bullpen.
After debuting in May of 2010 with the Cubs, Cashner posted 4.80 ERA (5.03 FIP) in 53 relief appearances. He was named as the Cubs 5th starter to start the 2011 season, but was sidelined with a rotator cuff injury after making just one start. Cashner made it back in time to make 6 appearances out of the bullpen and accumulated a 1.69 ERA (3.87 FIP) in just 10 ⅔ innings of work.
Last season, he logged 33 appearances (5 starts) for the Padres, putting up a 4.27 ERA (3.55 FIP) and was primed to join the Padres rotation to begin 2012. Unfortunately, injury struck again, this time in the form of a lacerated right-thumb tendon suffered while dressing deer meat. You can’t make this stuff up.
Though he was expected to miss the first month of the 2013 season, he recovered more quickly than expected and made five relief appearances before joining the rotation for an April 20th start against the Giants. He’s pitched well thus far to the tune of a 3.81 ERA (3.70 FIP).
Cashner has all the tools to develop into a number two or three starter and become an anchor of the Padres rotation for years to come. He relies heavily on an electric fastball that can touch 99 MPH, but usually works in the 94-96 MPH range during starts and a sinker in the 94-95 range. A changeup also factors into the mix, coming in around 10 MPH slower than the fastball with good arm-side fade. In years past the slider has been Cashner’s “put-away” pitch and it still is when he’s got command of it. However, he’s struggled with command of his slider at times this season which has lead to a decline in K%.
If he can remain healthy, Andrew Cashner has the type of electric stuff that will make him a very valuable asset to a dynasty league roster. In recent starts, Cashner has seemed to have a better feel for his slider, so he’s a prime candidate to rack up a ton of strikeouts in the second half of the season. Questions about his injury history and an inconsistent track record should make him attainable via trade in some leagues and he’s certainly a pitcher I would target in an initial dynasty league draft.