Bauer and Cashner: An Object Lesson in Hype

Trevor Bauer makes his Major League Debut tonight. Carson already wrote about it, and the coverage of his impending promotion has included months of conversation, including a movement to #FreeTrevorBauer. Bauer’s big league debut has been heavily anticipated and is now going to be heavily watched.

However, there’s another guy getting called up from the minors to join the rotation of an NL West team tonight too, and he’s doing it with little to no fanfare. Carson didn’t even mention his start under “other notable games”, and no one has ever used the hashtag #FreeAndrewCashner. So, while the Trevor Bauer Hype Train rolls on, don’t miss out on Andrew Cashner‘s first real big league start of 2012, because he very well may be the best pitching prospect to take the mound tonight.

Okay, so, Cashner isn’t technically a prospect, and the fact that he’s already got 93 Major League innings under his belt is part of the reason why there’s hardly any attention being paid to his re-debut. We like shiny new things, and Cashner isn’t as new as Bauer, who most fans have never seen pitch. Cashner is a guy who was a prospect, missed time with injuries, changed roles, got traded, and is now trying to re-establish himself as a starter. That’s not as interesting a story as a guy whose pre-game long toss routine (which already has its own video on YouTube) includes throwing from foul pole to foul pole, talks openly about the value of relative pitch locations, and generally does his own thing.

Bauer’s a unique personality who does some things that set him apart from the norm, while Cashner is just more of a traditional pitching prospect who throws really hard. But, if we put aside the stuff that goes on before the game starts and just focus on performance to date, Cashner looks more like the guy who is ready to get big league hitters out on a regular basis.

Let’s start by putting their minor league track records side by side:

Cashner, AA+AAA: 134 IP, 97 H, 50 R, 1 HR, 45 BB, 130 K
Bauer, AA+AAA: 110 IP, 95 H, 40 R, 5 HR, 56 BB, 142 K

Cashner has faced 540 batters between those two levels while Bauer has faced 475, but overall, we see that they haven’t performed all that differently. Bauer’s advantage in strikeout rate (30% vs 24%) is pretty much canceled out by his extra walks (12% vs 8%), and then the difference in home runs allowed makes it advantage Cashner. In terms of FIP, Cashner comes out ahead 2.46 versus 3.08, so while his overall minor league performance has included fewer strikeouts, it included a better combination of all things that go into pitching well. If you want to include BABIP in the conversation, the gap actually own grows wider, as Cashner’s at .272 and Bauer’s at .329. I don’t think you should really care about a minor league pitcher’s BABIP over a sample of ~100 innings, but just figured it was worth pointing out that this isn’t a case where there’s a difference in hit prevention that FIP isn’t capturing.

We have to choose to care about strikeouts above all else to prefer Bauer’s AA+AAA line to Cashner’s, and even then, we probably need to note that the lower strikeout version of Andrew Cashner hasn’t been seen in a few years. In 2009, Cashner struck out just 16.5% of the Double-A batters he faced, as he was dealing with command issues of his own and didn’t have much besides a 92-97 MPH fastball at the time. In ranking him as the #4 prospect in the Cubs system that winter, Jim Callis of Baseball America noted that he regularly sat 92-95 and touched 98 as a starter, and had thrown a bit harder than that in relief.

That doesn’t describe Cashner anymore. After sitting out most of last season due to shoulder soreness developed in his first start of the year, Cashner came back as a reliever in the season’s final month and then made up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League. The AFL is where he really started lighting up radar guns, hitting 100 with regularity and showing that his shoulder wasn’t bothering him anymore. Then, in spring training, Cashner started sitting at 101 and 102, and that velocity carried over the regular season. In graph form, here’s Cashner’s fastball in the big leagues over the last three years:

His average fastball this year was 98.8. In 2010, when he pitched exclusively in relief for the Cubs, it was 96.2, so this isn’t just a starter-reliever thing. The 2012 version of Andrew Cashner throws a lot harder than previous versions, and not surprisingly, he’s seen an increase in strikeouts because of it. In the majors, even with spotty command, he struck out 27.4% of the batters he faced. During his three tune-up starts in Double-A to get stretched out to start again, that was 41.1%.

So, Cashner might still not be in Bauer’s league as a strikeout pitcher (mostly thanks to Bauer’s hammer curve, which is a knockout breaking ball), but the gap is probably smaller than you might think from just looking at each pitcher’s total K% in Double-A and Triple-A. As well, Cashner has a significantly better track record of throwing strikes and throws significantly harder, both of which are points in his favor.

However, the big difference is what kinds of balls in play they allow. As noted in the linked piece above, Bauer sees ground balls as the enemy. He’s openly talked about how he sees no value in avoiding fly balls, as he’ll trade the extra home runs allowed for more strikeouts by pitching in lower contact parts of the zone. That’s fine – lots of pitchers make this trade-off, especially guys with good fastballs who can throw it by hitters with regularity. But there is a trade-off, and fly ball pitchers do give up more home runs than ground ball pitchers. While we shouldn’t read too much into Bauer’s home run rate since getting promoted to the crazy hitter friendly PCL, his publicly divulged plan to give up fly balls in the big leagues could lead to some real issues.

There are 31 MLB starting pitchers who have thrown at least 50 innings this year and posted a GB% below 40%. As a group, they’ve combined to allow 1.19 HR/9 compared to a league average of 1.01. There are some good pitchers in this group, including guys like Justin Verlander, Johan Santana, Jered Weaver, and Dan Haren. Certainly, you can be a good pitcher and a fly ball pitcher at the same time. But those four all throw strikes, and a lot of them – Bauer hasn’t shown he can do that yet. From A-ball all the way up, he’s walked at least 10% of the batters he’s faced, and if you’re looking for bad command fly ball success stories, the list gets a lot shorter. There’s Max Scherzer, for one. And yeah, well, that’s about it among current starters.

Like Bauer, Scherzer came up with the D’Backs as a high-BB/high-K starter, and while he’s managed to get his command problems under control to some degree, he’s 700 innings into his career and still more of a good pitcher than a great one. If Bauer turns into Max Scherzer, will people be disappointed? Probably, but they shouldn’t be, because given his current problems throwing strikes and his aversion to the ground ball, there’s some real potential for early career struggles, especially given the ballpark he’s going to pitch in.

Meanwhile, Cashner has no problem with the ground ball, and has already shown he can keep the ball in the yard while getting strikeouts at the same time. And, of course, he’s going to be calling Petco Park home, which is where fly balls to right field go to die. With Cashner, the concerns are more health related than performance related – if he can hold up under a starter’s workload, he’s got a chance to put up some fantastic numbers in Petco and still be a high-quality starter on the road. Groundballs and strikeouts are a proven winner, while walks and fly balls have a bit more of a dubious track record.

Bauer’s a talented and interesting kid, but of the two kids joining NL West rotations tonight, he’s the least likely to succeed in the short term, and maybe even in the long term. Bauer’s going to have to figure out how to throw strikes with more regularity and determine whether his fly ball philosophy is really the best fit for the thin air of Arizona, while Cashner just has to stay healthy. They’re both good young hurlers, but in this case, I think the hype is being apportioned to the wrong guy. Cashner is really the guy to watch tonight.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


79 Responses to “Bauer and Cashner: An Object Lesson in Hype”

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  1. Zach says:

    Don’t you think their respective birth years (1986 vs. 1991) have something to do with the difference in hype?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Pitchers don’t age like hitters, getting continuously better from 18-27 before beginning their decline. In fact, age for a pitcher is mostly irrelevant outside of its relationship to experience. And in this case, there isn’t a huge experience gap. Cashner has an extra 100 innings in the big leagues and an extra 20 in the high minors. From a development standpoint, they’re in pretty similar spots.

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      • Dave says:

        Actually, research shows pitchers start their decline earlier (23-24), then decline further around age 27…

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      • Domenic says:

        Emotional maturity remains a fairly crucial factor, though the impact of that is up for a great deal of debate. It is also worth noting that many men grow up through the age of 23, so there is an outside shot that Bauer isn’t a finished product physically.

        I am curious to see some research on a pitcher’s age relative to the level of competition. Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks of BP consistently beat the drum of that mattering quite a bit, and it seems like Baseball America does as well (though it is scattered throughout smaller scouting reports, and may not represent any sort of group think). It also seems like a great many outlets were touting the merits of Martin Perez and Manny Banuelos due to their relative youth at every level only one year ago, though much of that has seemingly evaporated due to their struggles.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        complete bullcrap. pitcher’s peak is demonstrated to be even sooner than hitter’s peak.

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    • jdbolick says:

      Of course, as do their respective draft positions, but as pitchers their age doesn’t necessarily mean anything towards present or future performance.

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      • LionoftheSenate says:

        Pitchers age does matter more than you assert Dave. Professional pitchers that are 27 are more likely to be in the majors than pitchers that are only 23.

        Most pitchers at age 23 don’t make a MLB roster and are in the minors. Most pitchers debut after 23.

        I think your claims of 23-24 and then decline apply to pitchers that break into the majors at very young ages.

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  2. AL Eastbound says:

    No, this is all wrong. Bauer has the crazy YouTube vid, he is clearly better!

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  3. jonnyp07 says:

    So we should discount the 98 innings of average to below average pitching from Cashner and say he will be better than Bauer? Even tough Bauer just crushed the PCL. Do you also seriously think Bauer is a dummy that will make no adjustments if his k/fly ball tactics don’t work?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Cashner’s struggles in the majors were directly related to issuing too many walks. If you think that walks are a problem, then you should probably be concerned about Bauer too. Given that Cashner has shown that he can throw strikes, I’m less concerned with his command issues than Bauer’s. And the significant change in velocity is one of the real points here – Cashner of 2012 isn’t Cashner of 2010. When a guy adds 2.5 MPH to his fastball, it’s worth readjusting our expectations.

      Also, Bauer posted a 3.33 FIP and a .329 BABIP. I don’t know, that doesn’t look like “crushing” the PCL to me. He struck out a lot of guys, but there’s more to pitching than that.

      And of course I don’t think Bauer’s dumb. I’m just noting that his publicly stated method of pitching essentially requires him to have better command than he does now in order to succeed. Bad command while pitching up in the zone is a recipe for a lot of home runs allowed, especially in Arizona. Either he needs to take a drastic step forward in command or he’s going to have to learn to embrace the ground ball. Either way, that’s probably not likely to happen on Day 1.

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      • Royo says:

        Guys who “crushed” the PCL last year by putting up similar numbers in the PCL last year in a similar amount of innings: Scott Maine, John Gaub, Michael Kohn, Wil Ledezma, Fernando Cabrera, and Jay Buente.

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    • jdbolick says:

      I didn’t read the piece as arguing that Cashner is necessarily equal to Bauer or that Bauer won’t be an elite pitcher eventually, but the points made regarding walk rate and fly-ball proclivity give some reasons to be concerned about his immediate future. I think the odds of Bauer being a successful pro right out the gate are pretty long. In my opinion, he needs a lot of improvement in his command and control, but injuries and his minor league success forced Arizona’s hand.

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    • James says:

      If I recall correctly, Cashner pitched well when used as a starter this spring. He might not be good out of the bullpen for whatever reason. There are a number of reasons why relief numbers can be misleading for guys who are used to starting.

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  4. Chummy Z says:

    We get it, you think Bauer is overhyped. You’ve made it clear in chats as well. The evidence is fine and dandy, but the tone of the article just feels like you wrote it with the intention of finding Cashner better no matter what, not as an exploratory look into who actually might be better. That tone is unappealing from the beginning as you claim that this is “an object lesson in hype” and talk about the “hype train.”

    The more savvy of us know that Cashner is well worth keeping track of as well, and an article like this is certainly relevant today. But the tone is just feels very biased in a bad way. They’re both good players and are both worthy of our attention.

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    • Basebull says:

      Welcome to Reading Dave Cameron 101 – compelling statistical analysis you won’t find anywhere else, provided you can hold your nose and wade through the condescension.

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  5. Jim Lahey says:

    Poor point on the age thing. Bauer will have much more experience in upper levels and big leagues before he hits 25 like Cashner. Age vs level.

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    • jdbolick says:

      That doesn’t matter nearly as much for pitchers as it does for hitters.

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      • Ccoop says:

        Isn’t that a logical fallacy? Saying age doesn’t matter as much for hitters doesn’t say that age is irrelevant for pitchers.

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      • jdbolick says:

        @ Ccoop -
        I don’t think you understand what “logical fallacy” means since what I said certainly isn’t one. Dave covered it in an earlier comment: “Pitchers don’t age like hitters, getting continuously better from 18-27 before beginning their decline. In fact, age for a pitcher is mostly irrelevant outside of its relationship to experience.

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      • rimbaud says:

        you’re both wrong:

        “[Age] doesn’t matter nearly as much for pitchers as it does for hitters” doesn’t employ a fallacy, but Ccoop is right that the statement says nothing about the correlation between pitcher performance and age. In fact, as Cameron points out: Age *does* matter for pitchers. That it matters less than in hitters is irrelevant.

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      • jdbolick says:

        @ rimbaud
        Uhm … he’s been repeatedly saying that age doesn’t matter for pitchers. In fact, I quoted him saying so, and he’s more strident about that than I am since I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s “irrelevant” like he did.

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  6. ksclacktc says:

    Dave. I hope you didn’t bet your house on the premise of this article. You can do better.

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  7. Matthias says:

    Statcorner shows that Bauer has a GB rate around 45%. Do GB rates from just 500 PA translate from minors to majors? If so, 45% would seem to make a bigish difference over the long run vs. the 40%-and-less guys you mentioned…all else equal.

    Is there any study for translating GB rates from minors to majors? How accurate are Statcorners minor league batted ball figures?

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  8. Telo2 says:

    Cashner is sick. Hes on my fantasy team.

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  9. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Didn’t Cashner already start a game for the Padres this season? Or was that not a “real” start?

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    • supershredder says:

      Actually it really wasn’t a “real” start, if I recall. He was on a strict innings/pitch cap and ended up going 2.1 IP. It was part of the stretching out process for him and since SD was in a bind for pitching they began his stretching out process with that one start in the majors and then sent him down.

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  10. ksclacktc says:

    The only fair way to compare these guys is at age. We are currently experiencing Bauer’s age 21 year. You gotta love that age 21 for Cashner 18K and 23W with an FIP of 7.00 at Class A for comparison.

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  11. Garrett says:

    Without reading the author, I instantly knew who wrote this solely based on the title. Ho-hum.

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  12. Ccoop says:

    Just curious. If you redrafted the 2011 draft, is there really any chance bauer doesn’t go #1?

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    • YanksFanInBeantown says:

      Dylan Bundy.

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      Not sure what exactly he’s done to differentiate himself from the other top pitchers. Gerritt Cole still has better raw stuff and has still been very good between high A and AA. The point of the minors isn’t to see who puts up the best stats the quickest, it’s to develop as a player. This is especially true for pitchers who are just making the transition to the pro game. I don’t think many teams are changing their opinions based on SSS stats.

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      • cable fixer says:

        This is actually a really interesting statement: “The point of the minors isn’t to see who puts up the best stats the quickest, it’s to develop as a player.”

        I feel like it’s a bit more than half right. On the one hand, minor league statistical results, much like ST stats, are probably more useless than useful, especially if you’re learning to pitch out of high school (in the case of guys like Walker or Bundy etc etc), learning a new pitch, etc.

        But on the other, in 2011 we saw three college pitchers drafted top 3–all reasonably close to the Show. If you look at Cameron’s article from last year about why the Ms should take a healthy Rendon (still completely defensible, btw) or why Matt Moore’s deal was smart/fair for both sides… I don’t think throwing in the condition that Bundy reached (and will likely produce) at the majors the fastest is quite as irrelevant as you indicate. Getting ML production from a top 3 pick pitcher is, surprisingly, an accomplishment for a team. In this particular instance, that Bundy (and I assume Cole supporters would disagree with this statement) might have the highest ceiling of the 3 is also worthy of mention. It’s not only that Bauer got there first, it’s that he still has a really high ceiling too.

        Gun to my head, I’d probably roll the dice with Bundy, but I can’t really fault the Pirates or Ms for wanting a mulligan on Bauer.

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    • dnc says:

      A pretty good chance. I’d say Bundy would be #1 on most teams redraft boards whereas Bauer, Hultzen, and Cole might all be 1 in a few of them. Bauer probably more than the other three after Bundy, but I don’t think he’s #1 for more than 20% of teams. Bundy goes first for over half of them, I’d expect.

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      • David says:

        Anyone who had Gerrit Cole above Bauer on draft day last year and would change their minds based on what we’ve seen so far is on crack.

        The reason for liking Cole better than Bauer last year were his better overall stuff and his higher ceiling. The reason for liking Bauer better were his higher floor and ability to move quickly.

        Bauer has moved quickly and shown that he should be, at worst, a moderately successful pitcher with spotty control at the big league level for some time. Cole has continued to show that he has far superior raw stuff and, if given the time and coaching to polish it up, can be a dominating, front end starter.

        In other words, both guys have been exactly what their proponents said they were 13 months ago. Given that most teams liked Cole better than Bauer then, most should still like him better today.

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  13. Tony Starks says:

    did anyone mention that they are lined up to face each other next week? if not then we should all be even more excited for that

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  14. Marver says:

    I love how you state “let’s start by putting their minor league track records side by side” and proceed to prune that down to AA/AAA, which of course leaves out the following Cashner lines:
    2008: R,A,A+, 20 IP, 23 BB, 19 K.
    2009: A+, 42 IP, 15 BB, 34 K.

    Their true minor league track records side by side:
    Cashner: 196 IP, 83 BB (3.8/9IP), 183 K (8.4/9IP)
    Bauer: 118 IP, 60 BB (4.6/9IP), 159 K (12.1/9IP)

    And that’s with Cashner being 21-22 for all his pre-AA innings, and Bauer being 21 or younger for all of his innings, period.

    I’ll refrain from outright insulting you, and just point out the distortions/shortcomings of your statement.

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      To be fair, I’m not exactly sure how relevant Cashner’s struggles 3-4 years ago are to how good he is right now. He’s pretty clearly taken a huge step forward since then.

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      • Marver says:

        I’m not sure what we gain by choosing a time period that is most advantageous for Cashner, while ignoring his clear MLB struggles (while simultaneously using his MLB velocity as evidence elsewhere), and also discounting age/level entirely. That’s not an objective analysis, not even by the most liberal of definitions.

        I guess the only way to test Dave’s confidence in his assertion that “Bauer’s a talented and interesting kid, but of the two kids joining NL West rotations tonight, he’s the least likely to succeed in the short term, and maybe even in the long term” is to demand a $1000 bet on their WAR for the next X seasons.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        “I’m not sure what we gain by choosing a time period that is most advantageous for Cashner”

        Not sure if you’re actually serious. You really don’t see what we gain by comparing the more recent version of Cashner to the Bauer instead of holding his struggles of 3-4 years ago (when he was a completely different pitcher) against him? Would you hold Jose Bautista’s struggles in 2007 and 2008 against him when comparing how good he is to other player’s right now?

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      • Marver says:

        Let me get this straight: right below here someone is arguing that pitchers don’t progress or decline. Yet now I have someone arguing that we should ignore previous numbers because that player was worse then? And you ask me this based on an example of a hitter, when the logic discussed is on pitchers?

        And no, I don’t think we gain anything by ignoring innings. We can say that ‘recently they look kinda the same if you accept these assumptions’ while saying ‘but long-term they aren’t close to being the same’, and that would be fair. And that analysis would point towards Bauer being a better bet. But to say ‘recently they kinda look the same if you accept these assumptions’ and we’re going to weight that at 100% while weighing the pre-AA innings at 0% is nothing short of stupid.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        No one is arguing that. You’re selectively quoting their statement. Pitcher’s don’t progress is a mostly linear fashion like hitters do. That is the point he’s making. The fact that Cashner struggled from 2008-2009 is pretty much completely irrelevant because he’s clearly made a ton of progression as a pitcher since then, as evidenced by both his stats and his improved scouting reports.

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      • Marver says:

        Okay, then why can’t Bauer get credited with the possibility that he’ll be better than Cashner when he’s Cashner’s age? Clearly, age isn’t irrelevant for a pitcher; it provides an opportunity to improve.

        And no, he’s not “clearly better”. Just yesterday, Dave was arguing about the folly of using 300 innings as a pitching sample to prove a pitcher differs. Today he’s using 134 Cashner innings (while ignoring his MLB lines and pre-AA lines) to make an assertion.

        That isn’t lost on me.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Because there are outside sources (scouting reports and velocity readings) that back up the improvement in the numbers. He isn’t relying on numbers alone.

        And as people keep pointing out, age is mostly irrelevant when projecting future improvement in pitchers because they don’t progress is the more linear manner that hitters do. Some guys gain velocity, some lose velocity, some add a new pitch, etc. You can’t just assume that because Bauer is younger he has a significantly better chance of improving than Cashner does.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        That last statement is not verified. I don’t see why we wouldn’t expect a pitchers age to matter. Obviously a player has more projection in him the younger he is.

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    • jdbolick says:

      As keeps being mentioned, age isn’t an important consideration for pitchers since they don’t progress, peak, and decline over time in the exaggerated way that hitters do. Performance by level is relevant, however, which is presumably why Dave just looked at the levels they shared in common. Bauer only having 9 innings below AA means that adding in Cashner’s numbers from that level might skew the comparison.

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      • Marver says:

        They should skew the comparison in Cashner’s favor: it’s a lower level. If pitchers don’t ‘progress, peak or decline over time’, then pitching at a lower level (no matter when) should produce BETTER numbers for Cashner. However, they don’t. In fact, he downright sucked at those pre-AA levels.

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    • Brandon says:

      Dave already addresses that. Cashner’s velocity went up 2.5 MPH during that time.

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  15. Dan S says:

    While I’m rooting for Cashner (fantasy team), I think the difference in hype is based primarily on pedigree and time anticipating arrival.

    People have been anticipating Bauer for what, about a year now? That tends to help build the hype (imagine Bundy’s hype!).

    Cashner was imported from the Cubs, and I don’t think carried the expectations that a #3 overall draft pick out of college carries. Not only that, but he was a reliever for 28 games already, so I doubt people were expecting a future ace even at the start of this season.

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  16. the thrill says:

    There are certainly some defensive people responding to this for whatever reason. The article isn’t declaring Bauer a bust. It is simply showing how over-hyped some of these newbies get these days and that Cashner may very well end up being the better pitcher this year. It’s not even trying to predict Cashner will be a better pitcher over the course of his career. It’s just saying calm down and don’t be surprised if the box scores in the weeks to come display Cashner as a legit pitcher that everyone slept on because they were drooling over Bauer’s uniqueness.

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  17. Dave says:

    2 points against Cashner that we seem to be ignoring… while Bauer has spent the whole season so far as a starter, Cashner has spent the majority of it in the bullpen. It’s not an easy transition going from the pen to the rotation – just ask flamethrower Daniel Bard. Also, Cashner was put in the pen due to concerns over his shoulder. Should we not discount him due to this? Even if he is successful, he could very well be shut down early. They’re both likely to be inconsistent… putting up big games and some stinkers as well, but I think I’d rather hitch my wagon to Bauer for the remainder of this season

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    • jdbolick says:

      I think that would be a mistake, especially since Cashner knows what it’s like to pitch in the major leagues and face major league hitters. Personally I’d avoid them both because high walk pitchers give me the hives.

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  18. Scott says:

    So funny how all the little amateur prospect hounds get all pissy when one of their heroes is questioned. Bauer has some real flaws, and they’re not going to go away just because you throw a hissy fit at Dave C. for pointing them out.

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  19. Wade Miley says:

    Andrew Cashner sucks

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  20. Park Effects says:

    Does the fact that the AAA ballparks were Reno for Trevor Bauer and Iowa for Cashner play into the comparison? Reno’s run scoring environment is 15%+ worse, while the H factors are 8% worse (3 year factors).

    The AA ballparks they pitched in are similar.

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  21. byron says:

    Keith Law, at least, puts the chances that Cashner can stay healthy as a start near 0%.

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  22. Don Draper says:

    Dave C, did Bauer bang your mom or something? He’s like 21 give him a break

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  23. ValueArb says:

    “Does the fact that the AAA ballparks were Reno for Trevor Bauer and Iowa for Cashner play into the comparison? Reno’s run scoring environment is 15%+ worse, while the H factors are 8% worse (3 year factors).”

    And that almost all of Cashner’s innings Dave cites have been in pitcher friendly AA while half of Bauers have been in Reno.

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  24. Slamhole says:

    Just picked up Cashner and he’s throwing a great game tonight. Why couldn’t I have read this yesterday

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  25. Valuearb says:

    First, it’s funny to read the whining on both “sides” of this “debate” when both are fantastic prospects.

    Looking at the combined AA/AAAstats Dave used Cashner has 111 innings in AA, and only 23 innings in AAA, and that in Iowa.

    Bauer has 65 innings in AA, and 44 in AAA, and those in Reno. So comparing pitchers by a small sample size of stats, esp. when one spent over 80% of his innings in AA and almost all his innings in neutral run environments vs. one who spent over 40% of his innings not only in AAA, but in maybe the highest scoring run environment in AAA, if not all of baseball.

    That’s the real problem with this comparison.

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  26. cs3 says:

    Nobody thinks Cashner is a long term solution in a major league rotation.
    The question is not “if”, but “when” he gets hurt.

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  27. Daren M says:

    After looking the two pitchers’ performances tonight, you gotta score it Cashner 1, Bauer 0 at the moment.

    And the improved control that Cashner showed during his stretching-out in the minors definitely carried over to tonight’s start.

    Over the rest of the year, they will face similar competition (NL West) so in my opinion the edge has to go to Cashner because of slightly better control and a much better home park.

    There has got to be concern about the RP-to-SP transition though. Neftali Feliz, anyone?

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  28. Jim McLennan says:

    My goodness! A 25-year old in his fourth major-league season might be as good as a 21-year old making his debut! Wow – it’s this kind of startling, hard-hitting analysis that keeps me coming back here. I await Dave’s next article with baited breath: “Why Trevor Bauer Isn’t As Good A Pitcher As Justin Verlander”

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  29. Dave Cameron says:

    I’ll say what everyone’s thinking, Cameron comes off like a total dick in this article.

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  30. Jason says:

    My bad for posting as DC a second ago, brainfart, but my comment still stands. It’s ridiculous of him to make this post and it comes off as clearly one-sided.

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  31. Paul says:

    The premise of the article (hang on guys, how about a bit of love for Cashner, he could be very very good) is fine, but it decends into a bit of a Bauer Bash, which is where the well deserved flak comes from. Indeed it is almost like you wanted to write a Bauer Bash article and lucked into Cashner as a hook.

    I for one like the fact that Bauer is challenging the norm and doing things his way and backing his talent and beliefs, it may work for him, it may not, it may even be that he is successful in spite of himself down to his talent, but it’s nice to see someone zagging when most are zigging.

    And FFS not mentioning the age facter is indefensible (if you believe it is a non-factor, at least mention it and deal with it)

    What fangraphs and SABR does well is identifying the undervalued (or under hyped) and showing why they are good (i.e. Blyleven, Raines etc.. for HoF), using it to denigrate others (like Bauer here, or in the HoF cases) just undermines the good point you make originally.

    Bauer has plenty of skill and talent and at 21 it’s not unreasonable that he will make the required adjustments to get improve, and FB pitchers are not neccesarily the devil (albeit ARI is not a great fit for FB SP).

    As a side note, if Bauer and Cahsner swapped teams, their skillsets would suit the ballparks better, you want a FB pitcher in a roomy OF and a GB pitcher in a HR park.

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    • Jim McLennan says:

      I’m not sure where this “age is a non-factor” is coming from. I’ll happily bet you that Bauer as a 25-year old will be better than Bauer as a 21-year old – and, also, better than Cashner as a 25-year old, i.e. currently.

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  32. Sour Bob says:

    I really didn’t think he was bashing Bauer, so much as using him as a point of comparison for how badly Cashner’s first start as a Padre was being overlooked, even though it had the potential to be plenty noteworthy.

    As for the latter point, I will point out in the author’s defense that Cashner took a no-hitter into the seventh.

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  33. Nitram Odarp says:

    So was anyone else completely underwhelmed by Bauer and the 3 swings and misses he induced last night (1 coming against Jurrjens)? Also not a good sign that 4 of the 5 hits he gave up were off of his supposedly great offspeed stuff.

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  34. Pops says:

    Some shoddy defense by Upton led to a run. Let’s give him another start or two before we declare him a bust.

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      Who said he was a bust? Also what did Upton’s defense have to do with Bauer’s complete inability to get swings and misses?

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  35. ValueArb says:

    “Some shoddy defense by Upton led to a run”

    The ball he dropped that no other right fielder in baseball has the speed to even get a glove on?

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