The competition for spots in the Padres’ 2013 starting rotation has already begun, and some San Diego Pitchers have made convincing arguments for securing a spot of their own. While the Padres have mixed and matched with numerous starters over the last four months, one good thing that has come out of it have been the opportunities and increased workloads which some of the younger players have received. Somewhat lost in the shuffle of starters which have shuttled in and out of San Diego’s starting staff has been Andrew Cashner. According to Padres.com Beat Writer Corey Brock, the once-injured Cashner is healthy, ready to contribute, and has a perfect chance to audition for a starting role in next season’s rotation.
Cashner in 2012
It was assumed that Cashner would be the Padres’ new Setup man out of the bullpen during his first year with the club. And over the course of his first season, Cashner was an effective cog in the Friars’ Bullpen machine despite a few spotty performances and control issues. But after injuries struck a large amount of members of the Padres’ starting rotation, Cashner was asked to make the transition from the bullpen and pitch every fifth day like he had as a minor league player.
To Cashner’s credit, he went back down to the minors at mid-season, and joined the starting rotation after he threw extended outings with the Padres’ Double-A affiliate in San Antonio. By mid-summer, Cashner was a starter, and achieved a small measure of success during his brief time as one in 2012. In 10.2 Innings of work, Cashner Struck Out 16 batters, Walked only 3, posted a respectable 2.53 ERA, and allowed only a .139 Batting Average. During his second 2012 start, Cashner even took a no-hitter against the Astros into the 7th Inning. Granted, it was the light-hitting and less than stellar Astros, but to not allow a Hit in 6+ Innings of work is still a strong performance no matter what team one is facing. Sadly, Cashner exited his third start with the lat injury which has kept him sidelined and out of big league action until this week.
What to Watch For/Final Thoughts
Cashner will be a valuable part of San Diego’s pitching staff next season and into the future, will no question be included on the 25-man roster for 2013, and hopefully will be for years to come. Where Bud Black and Darren Balsley ultimately decide to put the flame-throwing Right-Hander come next season will be interesting. With one month to go and the health of his lat and throwing shoulder permitting, Cashner will probably log 3 to 4 starts over the season’s last month. While the Padres are out of postseason contention, and Cashner has a roster spot secure, a few quality starts would definitely help his case for a full-time starting gig next year. Plus, with guys like Anthony Bass, Casey Kelly, and Andrew Werner also vying for chances to start and contribute in 2012 and beyond, Cashner must also try to outshine the competition on his own team towards the end of this season.
So keep a close eye on Cashner down the stretch, Friars fans. Cashner has a great deal to gain from pitching well to end the year, and hopefully he will be able to carry a strong finish in 2012 into 2013 and beyond.
Statistics Courtesy of: Baseball Reference