While the hype monster has been all over Strasburg and Chapman, and maybe rightfully so, there have been a bunch of lesser known prospects making noise in the Minors. We are following all of these guys but we’ll try to highlight those prospects whose promotion to the Majors we believe is imminent and who could be worth a roster spot. Andrew Cashner has been dominating in AA and AAA this season and he could get the call to help the ailing Cubs’ bullpen.
Many of you regular readers may be wondering why I would hype Cashner as he was a dominant closer at TCU when he was drafted. (Editorial Note: I tend to stay away from minor league and college relievers because whether or not they will close is way too uncertain for how much they cost, whether dollars or draft picks.) What grabbed my attention was the experiment the Cubs have tried, stretching Cashner out as a starter. So far the experiment is working. He was promoted to AAA in early May after dominating AA to a tune of 3-1 with a 2.75 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 36 innings and he has continued to impress. Over his first three starts in AAA he is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 16 strikeouts with only 2 walks. Some believe he may be better as a closer/reliever in the long run but but he has showed the ability to pitch deep into games including already throwing a complete game this year. With starting pitching costing a premium there is no way the Cubs won’t give him a chance to start in the Majors.
He was recently moved to the bullpen at AAA for what many believe to be preparation for a promotion to the Cubs bullpen in the near future. The Cubs bullpen is in bad shape so he’ll immediately get a shot but if the Cubs don’t trust Zambrano, and they need another starter, Cashner should get his chance. He would be a decent buy for this season because he should provide decent numbers out of the bullpen, and fantasy owners could get lucky if something happens to Marmol, but Cashner could be a great long term buy as he has serious potential as a front of the rotation starter.