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


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – Jo Adell

The most coveted type of player in fantasy baseball is the batter who can hit home runs, steal bases and hit for contact. Stolen bases are harder to find, as more big-league teams are opting to take a cautious approach to baserunning. Additionally, batting average has declined because hitters are striking out more often, as... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis - Gleyber Torres vs. Corey Seager

Fantasy baseball players acquire draft position through osmosis. The more drafts that take place, the larger sample we gain of how owners of all experience levels feel about someone. Granted, inexperienced players often rely on rankings from experts, which goes to form ADP into something resembling common rankings, but the outcome is unimpeachable, collected data... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis – Aaron Nola vs Lance Lynn

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 Regression Candidates: Breakout Outfielders

Every season in MLB you can count on the fact that you will have breakout performances from players. Sometimes these breakout performances can be seen coming a mile away and sometimes they catch you entirely by surprise. Regardless of which type of breakout we see, you will almost always have to pay up for that... Read More

Bases Loaded Podcast - Quality Start Episode 1

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) and Matt Williams (@MattWi77iams) of the Turn Two Podcast come together for a new co-pod series called "Quality Start". This will be a joint effort and episodes will be found on Bases Loaded as well as the Turn Two Podcast. We are joined by Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) as well for this one.... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Adrian Houser

In life, there seem to be two kinds of people, the flashy and the boring. “Flashy” people like high-end materialistic things such as nice clothing or an expensive car. "Boring” people prefer the simpler things in life like spending time with their loved ones. This seems to be true when it comes to fantasy baseball,... Read More

Taking Out the Trash: Pitchers Who Should Junk Their Worst Pitch

Pitch mix changes can make or break a player’s season. That obviously goes for fantasy value as well as real-life. We've already seen how throwing an effective pitch more often could make a huge improvement a la Patrick Corbin. Sometimes pitchers just need to eliminate a pitch to see their numbers improve. Consider the following: Mitch... Read More

ADP Showdown – Trevor Story vs. Trea Turner

Pitchers and catchers have officially reported and position player workouts are getting underway, which means baseball season is officially upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already started dealing with tough draft position... Read More

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitcher Statcast

Statcast metrics such as Barrels and Brls/BBE are great ways to evaluate a batter's performance, so it is only natural to assume that the metrics would be predictive for pitchers as well. As much as batters want to hit a Barrel every time, pitchers want to avoid them at all costs. Yet there is evidence... 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

Bases Loaded Podcast - All Things Fantasy Baseball w/ Nick Pollack (@PitcherList)

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is  joined by Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) and they discuss all things fantasy baseball! 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! Be sure to also tune... Read More

Finding Combo-Player Values Using Z-Scores and ATC Projections

Towards the end of last season, I asked the question – “Draft Speed or Pound the Power?” Loaded in this seemingly simple query are two contradictory approaches – one for power and one for speed. Power Approach 1: Home run totals are dramatically up in baseball these days. Therefore, there are many power bats available... Read More

ADP Showdown - Whit Merrifield vs Austin Meadows

Spring training is officially underway, which means baseball season is upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already begun dealing with tough draft position decisions. The outfield position is deep as always, but... Read More

2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Third 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 Dynasty Leagues: Players to Sell (Premium Content)

As draft day approaches in dynasty leagues, the window to sell-high on a big name has never been better. The first days of spring training are a chance to cash in on players who may have hit their peak value before the 2020 season begins. Bartering is a matter of risk vs reward. You hate... Read More