Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Fantasy Baseball Advice: Fringe Pitchers - "Cash"ner and Prizes

Andrew Cashner on April 8, 2012

Andrew Cashner

At home against the Giants last Friday night, Andrew Cashner put together a quality outing (6 IP, W, 5K, 1 ER and 1.00 WHIP), but fantasy owners shouldn't wait to see how his next two scheduled starts (extremely favorable @ Cubs and vs. Miami) go before picking him up.

Drafted 19th overall in 2008 by the Cubs, Cashner has pitched mainly out of relief since 2010. He was given a shot to start in 2012 before latissimus dorsi and elbow injuries derailed him, and then he suffered a hunting accident in December that required emergency surgery. Fortunately for fantasy owners in deeper mixed and NL-only leagues, this RP/SP eligible Paul Bunyan look-alike should be quite useful and is still about 70% available.

Between injuries and pitching out of relief, Cashner has only 130 major league IP since 2010, but from these numbers we can still draw a few important conclusions. First, he has always had “swing and miss” stuff as evidenced by a career K/9 of 8.89 (10.10 in 2012). Batters’ underlying plate discipline data supports this, too. Cashner's career swinging strike percentage of 10.6% is well above the league average of 8.3%. And while he doesn't get batters to chase outside the zone at a special rate, he’s able to keep them off balance even on pitches in the zone (81.4% in the zone contact % compared to a league average of 88.3%) with a nasty changeup that complements his mid-to-upper-90s fastball and tight slider. His velocity is down a couple of ticks to start the season, but this isn't uncommon early on for many pitchers and it's just something to keep an eye on.

Another positive note for Cashner is the rate at which he generates ground balls (GB% of 51.3); in combination with his strikeout rate, this is a recipe for success. His HR/FB rate of 15.2% is a little high but is partially offset by his 1.71 GB/FB ratio which is almost 32% lower than the league average! There isn't enough data to judge how moving the fences around at Petco will affect how the ballpark plays, but it’s likely to be no worse than a neutral park for pitchers.

The above praise doesn’t come without some cautionary tags.  Besides the aforementioned health troubles, Cashner's career BB/9 of 4.2 is about 40% higher than the league average. This creates two problems. Obviously more baserunners translates into a higher likelihood of giving up runs, but it is also a reason Cashner historically hasn't pitched very deeply into games. It’s not uncommon for high strikeout pitchers to register fewer innings over the course of a season compared to those who pitch to contact, but the combination of a high BB% and K% for someone who has never been fully stretched out from being a reliever could limit his win potential. Because he’s never been over 55 IP in a season, he may also be on an innings limit, but that’s a bridge you can cross when you come to it. No one is confusing the offensive prowess of the current Padres’ lineup with the ’27 Yankees either, so run support is certainly a question, but at least the Padres do have a respectable bullpen. And because wins can be flukey, the wiser move is to track good ratios, especially at this point in the season.

Unlike 2012, Cash's shift to the rotation has come much earlier this season and mindful fantasy owners need to take advantage and jump on the former Horned Frog now. If you happen to be in one of the 30% of the leagues where he is taken, point out his lower win probability and the BB% to discount what he did Friday night, then try to acquire him via trade for him and then enjoy the production.

The Prizes

While Cashner certainly deserves your attention, here are the “Prizes” which represent some other underappreciated options in San Diego:

Everth Cabrera – After swiping 44 bases in 2012, the cat is mostly out of the bag with ECab, as evidenced by his Yahoo ownership which is around 75%, but if you're short on speed, this is could be an attainable MI option who should be a lock for 40+ steals. Owning a career SB success rate above 80% and attempting a steal once every 11.5 ABs, Cabrera is hitting atop the order and should receive plenty of opportunities to get on base and run. It’s still a little early to tell, but it appears his plate discipline has changed slightly for the better which should help him maintain his improved BB% and K%. He’s always hit a ton of ground balls (career GB/FB ratio of 2.91) which is what you'd like to see out of a speedster. He’s already matched his season high of HR (2), but you own him for the speed and any power is a bonus. He probably wasn't expensive on draft day so if you're in a league where’s already owned, you still might be able to get him in a trade for a very reasonable price.

Carlos Quentin – If you're in the 0.1% of leagues where HBP is a category, then Quentin should have been a top round pick (since 2008, he leads MLB in HBP with 97). For the rest of us, Quentin still has some value as he’s averaged 20+ HR over the past 5 years and owns an impressive career .237 ISO. He’s off to a slow start in 2013 due partially to the 8 game suspension for the Zack Greinke brawl, but even with that and health question marks, he should be good for another 20 HR if he logs just 400 PAs for the season. Owned in less than 20% of leagues, he’s a nice 5th-OF option for managers who need some additional pop.

Will Venable – A prototypical platoon player, Venable is mess against lefties which puts him on the strong side of the platoon. Fortunately, this provides the solid asset of predictability that gives alert owners (particularly those in daily leagues) an opportunity. Having averaged 26 SB over the past 3 seasons, Venable is very efficient on the basepaths (82.8% SB success rate). Even if he only achieves 90% of his current PA pace (which would not be a stretch), he should still be an excellent source of speed and a little pop. Available, in 95+% of leagues, I'd take the over on 20.5 SB and 10.5 HR for the rest of the season. And if you can monitor his starts daily (or at least take note of weeks when the Padres are slated to face multiple southpaws), there’s an opportunity to supplement those numbers by swapping him out of your lineup when he sits against lefties.  Venable's real-life platoon-mate Chris Denorfia (vs. LHP .318/.382/.457) would be a fine pairing to get solid ABs and production out of your 5th OF spot.


If you want this article and other high-end fantasy baseball analysis delivered to you on a daily basis, sign up for our daily newsletter. And be sure to check out the Ultimate Waiver Wire Watch List for in-depth analysis on gems that you may be able to find sitting on your waiver wire.  It’s one of the best fantasy baseball features currently on web!

More Recent Articles


Bases Loaded Podcast - Relief Pitchers Preview

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez, Zach Braff and Mike Simione as they jump into their relief pitcher preview! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jose Urquidy

It's been a tumultuous winter for the Houston Astros. Not only were they embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal (which has, naturally, progressed apace to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about ever more sophisticated methods of cheating), but they watched staff ace Gerrit Cole sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Yankees. Plenty of virtual ink has been... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Mark Canha

Mark Canha had a solid 2019 campaign and is one player that probably deserves more attention heading into 2020 than he is currently receiving. He finished the season hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 HR, 58 RBI, 80 R, and 67 BB in 410 at-bats. It was a very productive line for a guy that played in... Read More

Four Prospect Sleepers for 2020 Redraft Leagues

Recently, Rotoballer launched a list of the Top 50 MLB prospects for the coming year. The top of the list was populated by names such as Gavin Lux, Luis Robert, and Brendan McKay. These players, among others, feature a promising combination of talent and favorable playing time projections to suggest they’ll be the cream-of-the-crop among... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis – Robbie Ray vs Trevor Bauer

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More

2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Second Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – C.J. Cron

As another fantasy baseball season approaches, we once again have the chance to discuss C.J. Cron as a fantasy sleeper. Cron will be playing for his third team in three seasons. It is tough to wrap one's head around the idea that a player of Cron's talent continues to be undervalued by professional and fantasy... Read More

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More

Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More

How to Attack RP in SV+HLD Leagues

No position has seen as much evolution in recent seasons as the relief pitcher. Gone are the days where starters were expected to go seven innings as most teams have embraced the idea of "super-bullpening" and try to fit as many pitchers that can throw 95+ MPH into their bullpen as they can. Many fantasy... Read More

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitch Info

One of the most fundamental questions in fantasy sports is if a player's current performance is sustainable. More than any other sport, baseball has a slew of statistical measures that can be dissected in numerous ways to analyze player performance. Pitch Info is a publicly-available pitch tracking system that provides a lot of different data to... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More

Mock Draft Review: Best Late-Round Targets

Last week, some members of the RotoBaller staff completed a 12-team mock draft for standard 5x5 format. After the draft, we each broke down our strategy and some of our favorite picks, which can be found here. However, I want to take a closer look at one portion of the draft in particular. Since we know that... Read More

Faster and Furious: Pitchers with Rising Velocity/Performance

Welcome fantasy baseball players! I’m sure that you, like me, are anxiously counting down the days until your drafts and Opening Day. While the fantasy season may not start for several weeks, there are plenty of things we can do to start preparing for a successful season. One of those things is to take a good... Read More

James Karinchak Is A Relief Pitcher To Know in 2020

One of the lesser-known players that intrigues me for the 2020 MLB season is Indians relief pitcher James Karinchak. The former Bryant Bulldog was drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in the 2017 draft and went on to have one of the most outrageous statistical seasons in minor league baseball history. As someone who... Read More