Saturday, March 10, 2012

Andrew Cashner (RP, Padres) -- Rebound Candidate

Andrew Cashner is getting some attention this Spring lighting up the radar guns, averaging an amazing 102.2 mph on his fastball. 

Cashner, a former top prospect with the Cubs, was sent over to San Diego in the deal that brought Rizzo over to Chicago.  Cashner saw his struggles with the Cubs, but gets a new start in the pitcher haven ballpark of Petco.  Cashner is expected to be a middle reliever, setting up new Padres closer, Huston Street.  But Cashner's sights are on making the starting rotation as early as this year.

As most relievers in the hobby, Cashner's autos are dirt cheap.  He has no Bowman Chrome autos, but his Bowman Sterling and Donruss Elite autos are selling in the $3 vicinity.

When a former top prospect moves to the best pitcher's park in the majors, averages 102 mph in the Spring, and has rookie autos selling for cheaper than a Starbucks coffee, it gets my attention.

I look for Cashner to play a major role in the Padres dominant bullpen, similar to last year's Padres middle reliever (now with Texas), Mike Adams.  If the starting rotation stays healthy and the Padres are in the hunt, I don't expect a sudden move to the rotation for Cashner this year.  Why fix what ain't broke?  But, next year is a whole other story.  And if you have some spare cash, and time to wait, I think bright days are ahead for Cashner as the starting pitcher he was once expected to be.

I like Cashner's maturity with his new role, mixed with hunger and confidence -- "I feel great," Cashner said. "Right now all my focus is on the bullpen. If another opportunity comes up, it comes up. My goal is to win the seventh or the eighth inning job this year."

RECOMMENDATION: BUY (In bulk), Long-term investment

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