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Cashner started 2012 as a flame-throwing setup man and walked an unseemly number of batters. Of course, he also punches out an obscene total - 34 in 28 1/3 stanzas so far.
San Diego's growing medical chart of starting pitchers accelerated the right-hander's timetable, but he reportedly responded well in building up endurance to join the rotation. In three starts for Double-A San Antonio, he fanned 22 and walked only three in 14 1/3 while posting a 1.88 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP; he lasted six shutout frames and struck out 10 Saturday.
Turning 26 in September, he's not a traditional prospect anymore, but his role limbo and 2011 rotator cuff strain slowed his ascension. He'll have to tone down his four-seam pickup for endurance purposes, but it'll still touch - if not reside in - the mid-90s, and his experience as a starter and accompanying arsenal could hasten the transition. Cashner's suffocating stuff induces ample grounders and batter breeze.
Your WHIP could be cracked if you blindly keep him in your lineup, and his first start (at the Houston Astros) could be a rougher deployment than many expect. But he could scrape the floor of his upside for the final few months of the season. The Pads don't have much to lose in trying him out long term, and given their litany of DL duds, he should have a significant leash.
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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