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Taking a Flier on Andrew Cashner as a Starter

After turning to veterans to fill in the back end of the rotation, the Padres are now turning youthful Andrew Cashner into a starting pitcher. Like most Padre pitchers, Cashner has been better at home — though he has thrown just 28.1 innings this year.

His home ERA/FIP/xFIP is 2.70/3.47/3.12 compared to 5.40/4.60/3.35 in games away from Petco. While the sample is small, the spread will likely continue, though it should at least somewhat narrow. As a reliever, Cashner boasted heavy strikeout numbers as well as a high walk total. That will likely continue on a lesser extent as a starter. He has been moved in an out of minor league rotations since the start of 2010, so anticipating how his rate stats will look as a starter is somewhat complicated.

What isn’t complicated is that Cashner’s ability to get left-handers out, which will be instrumental to any success he may have as a starter. His .315 wOBA against is not tremendous, but he boasts a higher strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.11) and xFIP (3.59) against lefties than he does against righties, where his marks are 1.59 and 4.05 respectively. Again, this is in just 93.1 career major league innings, but it is certainly a good sign for his sustainability as a starter.

Cashner likely won’t throw 98 out of the rotation as he did in the bullpen, but he will still be a very high velocity pitcher. With his change up becoming a higher quality pitch with more frequent usage, I could envision Cashner being a respectable starter for the rest of the season, with potentially more upside than that.

His three starts in double-A were a great success as he was getting stretched out for the rotation. He is expected to dominate those type of hitters, but a 23-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio including two hit batsmen is certainly a good sign. I picked Cashner up in my 12-team keeper league with close to standard scoring, though my pitching is pretty poor in this league. At this time, if you are looking for pitching on the waiver wire and are having a hard time finding anyone but meddling ~4.00 ERA starters with poor track records, take a flier on Cashner and see if he pans out. I think he can be at least solid, and at worst a solid home spot starter as most of the Padres rotation is.