Chicago Cubs Prospect Profile: Andrew Cashner

This guy can bring the heat.

Andrew Cashner was the Chicago Cubs first round (19th overall pick) in the 2008 draft. The 6’5″, 185 pound right-handed Texan turned 23 last September 11. Andrew Cashner features a mid-90’s fastball (that can touch 97-98 mph) and a plus slider (at 87-88 mph) in his arsenal. Cashner was dominant for TCU (Texas Christian University) after switching to the closer’s role. He was projected as a top-tier reliever, who might be able to make it as a starter in the majors. Baseball America listed Cashner as the fourth best prospect in the Cubs’ system and the 95th best prospect in all of baseball.

In 2005, Cashner was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 20th round out of high school. He went to Angelina Junior College instead. As a freshman, Cashner totaled 24 strikeouts in only 23 2/3 innings, with a solid 2.66 ERA. After his freshman year in 2006, he was drafted in the 18th round by the Colorado Rockies.

Cashner stayed in college and in 2007 he posted a 9-3 record earning himself an appearance in the JuCo All-Star Game. The Cubs drafted him in the 29th round of the June amateur draft. In 2008 Cashner transferred to TCU.

In his only season at TCU, Andrew was 9-4 in 30 appearances with nine saves, 80 strikeouts, and a 2.32 ERA in 54.1 innings of work. He was drafted by the Cubs again, this time in the first round and he signed with them. The Cubs awarded Cashner with a $1.54 million signing bonus. He was drafted four times before inking a professional contract.

In 42 innings with the Daytona Cubs (High Class-A) last season, Andrew Cashner posted a 1.50 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP. In AA he had an ERA of 3.39 and a 1.23 WHIP in 58.1 innings. Cashner also pitched 19 2/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League with a 1.37 WHIP and a 4.58 ERA. In the Arizona Fall League, Cashner gave up 22 hits with 19 strikeouts but cut down his walks (five).

This year was Andrew Cashner’s second Spring Training in big league camp. Many thought he had a good chance to break camp with the big league club, if he had a great spring.

Cashner struggled with his command giving up eight walks, four hits, and two runs in five innings of work. He posted a 3.60 ERA with five strikeouts. Cashner was sent down to Triple-A Iowa, and he will go into the rotation for the I-Cubs.

“There’s no reason why this young man can’t have an impact on our team this summer, with the stuff that he’s got,” Piniella said. “He just needs to improve a little bit, more consistency.” Chicago Sun-Times

Andrew Cashner might make it to the big leagues at some point this year, provided that he can consistently throw strikes. He definitely has closers stuff in his high-powered fastball and wicked slider. Does he have the poise and mentality to handle the ninth inning?

If the Cubs choose the reliever route for Cashner, he might find himself in the set up role, provided that Carlos Marmol is effective. Command could make or break Cashner, he is a flamethrower but doesn’t have a lot of movement on his fastball, he needs to be able to locate it well to cut down on walks and miss bats.

Cashner could also make it to the majors as a starter. He is a hard thrower, not unlike Kerry Wood. But pitch counts and innings need to be monitored so he doesn’t burn out his arm, especially early in his career. Andrew has a very high upside, the potential is there to be either a reliever or a starter … many feel he would be better utilized in the bullpen.

This is a key year in his development, the Cubs will be faced with a tough decision on whether to keep him as a starter, or move him into the bullpen. I just hope that they don’t move him back and forth, like they have done with Jeff Samardijza.

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