Results tagged ‘ Andrew Cashner ’

On This Date in 2012: The Cubs acquire Anthony Rizzo

Rizzo_Lights

(Photo by Stephen Green)

It could be argued that a trade made three years ago today was the first move toward making the Cubs the dark-horse division contender many view them as heading into the 2015 season.

In an effort to reclaim a first basemen they originally selected in the 2007 draft while with Boston, the recently hired President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer acquired first baseman Anthony Rizzo and right-hander Zach Cates from San Diego in exchange for right-hander Andrew Cashner and outfielder Kyung-Min Na.

Initially, it looked like the Cubs may have surrendered the better portion of the deal in Cashner, a power arm with ace potential who, despite dealing with arm issues in 2011 that caused him to miss most of the season, showed promise in his 2010 rookie campaign. The bulk of the Cubs’ return rested in a 21-year-old power hitter who hit a mere .141/.281/.527 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with one homer in 49 games in his major league debut season in San Diego after enjoying a successful minor league campaign.

Rizzo rebounded in 2012, hitting .285/.342/.463 with 15 homers in 87 major league games. Meanwhile Cashner pitched in just 46.1 innings, as a strained lat kept him out for a large portion of the year.

By many accounts, the Cubs’ first basemen regressed in his first full season in the majors in 2013. His average plummeted to .233, and he hit only eight more home runs than he hit the previous season in 73 more games. That didn’t deter the Cubs from giving him a team-friendly, seven-year, $41 million extension in May of that year.

Cashner on the other hand, enjoyed his finest season, pitching 175.0 innings in 26 starts for San Diego. He struck out 128 batters and finished with a 1.13 WHIP and a 10-9 record.

The debate over who got the better end of the deal shifted back in the Cubs’ favor during the 2014 season. Rizzo made his first All-Star team and hit a career-best .286/.386/.527 with 32 home runs, which ranked second-best in the NL. His .913 OPS ranked third in the league.

Cashner also enjoyed a successful season—when he wasn’t on the DL. Shoulder issues limited the 28-year-old to just 19 starts, but he did post a 2.55 ERA, a 1.127 WHIP and 93 strikeouts over 123.1 innings.

When discussing two players who haven’t even exited their respective team-controlled years, it’s difficult to determine which organization “won” the trade. But based on Rizzo’s efforts in 2014, it’s safe to say that’s the kind of production the Cubs expected when they pulled the trigger on the move.

With so many variables, debating whether one player is better than another is a difficult proposition. And there few numbers that properly correlate when arguing hitter versus pitcher. However, based solely on the statistic WAR (wins against replacement), it looks as if the Cubs have enjoyed more productivity out of their return in each of the past three seasons.

According to Baseball-Reference, Rizzo recorded a bWAR of 5.1 in 2014, 2.8 in 2013 and 2.2 in 2012, while Cashner’s bWAR totals were 1.9, 2.4 and -0.1 in those same seasons. While the lofty total Rizzo accumulated last year should come as no surprise, the most interesting comparison might be in 2013.

To date, this is the cleanest single-season sample size we have of Cashner. After recovering from an early-season thumb issue, the oft-injured right-hander was never on the disabled list, pitching a career-high 175.0 innings and finishing with a 3.09 ERA (11th in the NL) and a 1.13 WHIP (12th). In a mid-September game against Pittsburgh, Cashner faced the minimum in a complete-game one-hitter. The only thing that slowed the then 27-year-old was an organization-sanctioned pitch limit.

Opposite those statistics were Rizzo’s numbers: .233/.323/.419 with 23 homers and 40 doubles. Though not bad, it left some to question whether his strong 2012 was just a flash in the pan or if the first baseman reaped the benefits of opposing teams not having seen him. Despite all the concerns, according to WAR, Rizzo was still a more valuable player than Cashner, a player enjoying the finest season of his young career.

Even though WAR embodies a variety of stats, it’s only one measurement to determine a player’s worth. On that same note, it is a stat that embodies a variety of stats and one of the quickest ways to quantify a player’s value. Only time will tell as to which of the super-talented players finishes with a better career, but three years after the transaction, early signs point toward the Cubs’ slugger. As the Cubs continue to be a trendy postseason pick, look no further than the move made three years ago today as that belief’s ignition.

Old faces in new places

When looking at the 2011-12 offseason, there is one word that best describes the Chicago Cubs from top to bottom: Change.

The Ricketts group hired Theo Epstein to act as President of Baseball Operations and subsequently hired a new GM in Jed Hoyer. Payroll was cut in favor of stocking the farm system, and probably most important, many player moves were made. While the Cubs signed a plethora of young talent hoping to help the organization in the future, if not this year, many notable Cubs became “former Cubs” either by trade or free agency.

Let’s see how some of the old faces have fared thus far with their new teams:

Andrew Cashner: Cubs 2008-11; Traded to Padres Jan. 2012
Spring Training line: 8 IP, 11 K’s, 6 HA, ER, 1.13 ERA

Tyler Colvin: Cubs 2006-11; Traded to Rockies Dec. 2011
Spring Training line: 41 AB, HR, 10 RBI, 16 hits, .390/.429/.610

Sean Marshall: Cubs 2003-11; Traded to Reds Dec. 2011
Spring Training line: 8 IP, 12 K’s, 5 HA, 4 ER, 4.50 ERA

Carlos Pena: Cubs 2011; Free agent signed with Rays Jan. 2012
Spring Training line: 28 AB, 0 HR, RBI, 4 hits, .143/.333/.250

Aramis Ramirez: Cubs 2003-11; Free agent signed with Brewers Dec. 2011
Spring Training line: 32 AB, HR, 2 RBI, 8 hits, .250/.273/.406

Carlos Zambrano: Cubs 1997-11; Traded to Marlins Jan. 2012
Spring Training line: 13.2 IP, 17 K’s, 14 HA, 7 ER, 4.61 ERA

A pitch for philanthropy

Illustration by Jerry Neumann, and story by Jordan Ramos. Featured in the upcoming September 2011 edition of Vine Line.

Several Cubs players have new boots in their closets, but these kicks are much more than they appear to be at first glance.

Randy Wells, Kerry Wood, Ryan Dempster, Andrew Cashner, Jeff Baker, Jeff Samardzija and Mike Quade are all part of the Boot Campaign, an initiative created by five Texas women that supports injured American soldiers. The inspiration came from the book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, in which author Marcus Luttrell recounts Operation Redwing, an ill-fated mission to kill a high-ranking Taliban official in 2005.

Wells was introduced to Luttrell in the offseason.

“When I went down to the charity event and saw how much this book touched so many people, I got it and read it,” said Wells, who wore the boots in spring training. (more…)

Now Playing: The Stat Pack

The Stat Pack video

Click image to play “The Stat Pack.”

Set in Arizona’s beautiful Hotel Valley Ho, five Cubs talk about the statistical keys to the 2011 season. Subscribers already saw the stunning photography by Stephen Green in the April issue of Vine Line, and now you can watch the high-energy video on cubs.com. Features interviews with Kerry Wood, Carlos Peña, Ryan Dempster, Marlon Byrd and Andrew Cashner. Don’t miss it.

Watch top Cubs prospects in AFL Rising Stars Game

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgWant a sneak peek at some of the top prospects Vine Line has been covering in the Minor-League Notebooks?

Tune in to the MLB Network this Saturday at 7:15 p.m. CT to see pitchers Andrew Cashner and Blake Parker, and infielders Starlin Castro and Josh Vitters. All four will be playing for the East Division in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game.

And when it comes down to top prospects in the Cubs organization, you can’t get much bigger than these four. Vitters and Cashner are the Cubs’ 2007 and 2008 first-round draft picks, respectively. At just 19 years old, Castro might just be the Cubs prospect gaining attention the fastest. And Parker is a converted infielder who looked good as a part-time closer in Double and Triple A this season.

Vitters J Futures batting.jpgVitters is hitting for a .360 AVG/.385 OBP/.460 SLG line over 12 games in the Arizona Fall League, but he has made it his goal to work on his third-base defense while playing with the game’s top minor-leaguers.

“I know my bat will be there,” Vitters told Vine Line earlier this year. “I want my defense to be up there with the best of them.”

With the system stocked with good infielders, vice president of player personnel Oneri Fleita has been able to slowly move Vitters up the ladder, splitting his time between Class-A Peoria and Daytona this season. But the 20-year-old’s natural hitting ability has only drawn rave reviews.

“When you first watch him take batting practice, he can really drive the ball,” Peoria manager Marty Pevey told Vine Line. “He has as quick of hands as any young player. I’d say his hands are as quick as Bob Horner back with the Braves when he came out of Arizona State.”

The Vine Line blog will have more on Castro, Cashner and Parker later this week.

– Sean Ahmed

Photo credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images

No rain for the rainout

Jeff Stevens turned right back around after yesterday’s game, rejoining the team for injured outfielder Reed Johnson. Johnson was placed on the 15-day DL before the game with a left-foot fracture.

Fukudome, CF
Theriot, SS
Lee, 1B
Fox, 3B
Bradley, RF
Soriano, LF
Fontenot, 2B
Hill, C
Hart, RHP

Right-hander Russ Ortiz (3-5, 4.75 ERA) pitches for the Astros.

Some homestand numbers from media relations

The Cubs are 5-1 with a .302 AVG/.401 OBP/.575 SLG. They have scored 6.8 runs per game and hit 2.2 homers per game.

Cubs pitchers have a 3.26 ERA that breaks down as follows: Starter ERA 2.61 (38.0 IP), and Relief ERA 4.50 (20.0 IP).

Next steps

The team will leave right after the game for Miami. Harden, Zambrano and Dempster will pitch this weekend. The Cubs return 12 days later to host the Phillies on Aug. 11.

Keep an eye on

Andrew Cashner, the Cubs’ 2008 first-round pick, continues to throw lights-out since being promoted to Double-A Tennessee. He has a 1.09 ERA in five starts, striking out 21, and allowing just 14 hits and nine walks in 24.2 innings.

Invading Milwaukee

With the Cubs and Brewers separated by just one game — and Chicago and Milwaukee just some 90 miles apart — we at Vine Line felt it was a no-brainer to make the trip up to Miller Park. Mike and I will be blogging tonight from the press box, offering first-hand perspectives on the game and Cubs fans attending.

It’s lefty versus lefty: Ted Lilly takes on CC Sabathia.

Are you going to be there or watching? What are your expectations for this series?

First appearance for first-rounder

Yesterday, the Cubs assigned 2008 first-round pick Andrew Cashner of TCU to short-season Class-A Boise. The hard-throwing right-hander is expected to make his debut Tuesday.

Cashner signed with the Cubs on July 10 for a reported $1.5 million.

Who’s your ultimate singer?

Fan voting opens today to pick the 10 finalists in the Ultimate Seventh-Inning Stretch Competition. Five new fans will be introduced every weekday for the next two weeks, and each group’s winner will be invited back Aug. 14. Watch their videos — including the reason they feel they should be chosen to sing the stretch — at cubs.com.

What are your criteria for the ultimate singer? Are you looking for a great singing voice or hoarse, off-key rendition? Do you have a favorite story? Build up your support for your favorite choice in the comments section.

For all 50 semi-finalists, check below the jump.

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Down on the Farm: Andrew Cashner

This isn’t the first time Andrew Cashner has been drafted, but it appears to be the last. The 19th overall pick has been drafted four times. First in 2005 out of high school by the Braves, then in 2006 by the Rockies, next in 2007 by the Cubs and then, finally, again by Chicago yesterday.

Cashner.jpg“It has been a long process,” Cashner said. “I’ve come a long way since high school, and I think this year is finally the first year I have grown into my body and matured in a baseball standpoint….I left high school at 5-9, and I left TCU at 6-6, 190 pounds so I have come a long way.”

Cashner has made tremendous strides physically in the past year, putting on weight and developing a 98-mph fastball and mid-80s power curve that has helped his stock rise from a 29th-round pick last year to a first-round pick 12 months later. The flame thrower attributes his success to a new diet and workout plan that awaited him after he transferred to Texas Christian University in the fall.

“[TCU] put me on a meal plan and a nutrition plan, and I sat down with our nutritionist and gained some weight. Then the strength coach helped me out a lot, and I put on a lot of muscle and got a lot stronger this year.”

Bigger and stronger, Cashner has electric stuff, but it didn’t fully translate into production until Cashner was made TCU’s closer after being a lifetime starter. TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle made the decision because of the lack of depth in the Horned Frogs bullpen.

At first, the move worried Cashner.

“To be frank, [Cashner] wasn’t so sure,” Schlossnagle said. “Most starting pitchers…feel that the pen is a demotion. We tried to convince him that if he can be really good at this, the elite college closers have done really well in the draft, and if they stay in the bullpen, they move to the big leagues real quick.”

It only took one outing for Cashner to be convinced.

“In his very first opportunity against Cal State Fullerton in our second game of the season…he was 97-99 [mph] and needless to say he bought in pretty quick.”

So far Schlossnagle has been right. Cashner was the first relief pitcher taken in the draft, and if he continues to grow as a pitcher, the green ivy of Wrigley Field could be on the horizon.

Tim Wilken, the Director of Amateur and Professional Scouting for the Cubs, couldn’t agree more, but he is biding his time to decide what role the big righty will take.

“I think we are going to let this one take its own pace,” Wilken said. “His delivery is pretty darn sound and is probably one of the better ones in this draft….He is comfortable in what he is doing…but he has started in the past.

“I think he’s got good versatility and can go either way. We are very happy.”

And what does the Texas native know of Chicago?

“I know that Wrigley Field is awesome and that they are in first place, and Lou Piniella is doing a great job with them.”

Couldn’t have been said much better.

Zach Martin

(more…)

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