- ZiPS projection – 1.1 WAR
- Over/Under – Push
Andrew Cashner is yet another wildcard on this years Ranger team. A tough 2016 saw him getting traded at the deadline and signing a one-year deal in an off-season short of starting pitching talent.
His 5.25 ERA was a career high. His 4.09 walks per nine innings, 1.30 home runs per nine and 4.84 FIP were all the highest since his rookie season.
Cashner has shown in the past that he is more than capable of being a solid starting pitcher. In 2014 he pitched to a 2.55 ERA and 3.09 FIP, both career bests. Even his 4.34 ERA in 2015 is deceiving as the .330 BABIP against him is unusually high.
So how can Cashner revert back to his 2014 form? It could be as simple as going back to his two-seam fastball. In 2014 he threw his two-seamer 36.8 percent of the time which helped lead to a 16.0 fastball rating.
In 2016 Cashner only threw the two-seam 15.1 percent of the time, a career low, which resulted in a -4.1 fastball rating. Cashner’s live fastball helps set up his otherwise below average off speed pitches, making them more effective.
Cashner is expected to return on April 15th, only missing one time through the rotation. He has pitched over 180 innings only once in his career, so predicting around 200 innings may be irrational. If he can prove 2016 was an outlier season, Cashner could be one of the best number five starters in baseball.
Prediction – 1.1 WAR