I imagine many of you have already read this from Baseball Prospectus
but I thought I'd post it for those who have not. Not very old it gives nice insight into Cashner's mind and game psychology. From B.P.s Prospectus Q&A
I've added the occasional comment or emphasis:
" ....... January 24, 2010
by David Laurila
Be it as a starter or out of the bullpen, Andrew Cashner looms as a big part of the Cubsí future. A 6-foot-6 right-hander who was taken in the first round of the 2008 draft from Texas Christian, the 23-year-old Cashner has gone from
college closer to
, albeit with a strict pitch count. In 24 games split evenly between High-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee last year, Cashner posted a 2.60 ERA while allowing 76 hits in 100 1/3 IP. Notably, only one of them left the yard. [Note Andrew's comments on ground balls.] Cashner talked about his power game, and his future, at the conclusion of the Arizona Fall League season.
David Laurila: If you had to write a scouting report on yourself, what would it say?
Andrew Cashner: It would say that I have a good fastball and a good slider. My slider is my out pitch. And then, Iím developing a changeup. Iíd say that I can throw three pitches for strikes and Iím a big competitor out there on the mound.
DL: How important is velocity to your game?
AC: It helps me out a lot, but the biggest thing thatís going to help me out this year is my changeup.
[More recent comments by 3rd parties I've read say the change-up is coming along nicely.] I mean, you get in those 2-0 counts with a big power hitter up there and heís going to be swinging for the fence. If you can throw that changeup up there, youíre going to get a lot of ground balls
out of that. [Ground balls also totally negate power!] Changing speeds, for me, has been a big key this year.
DL: Are you also changing speeds
on your fastball?
AC: No, just my whole repertoire. My fastball is usually in a range of, oh, anywhere from like 92-96 mph, and maybe 97 sometimes. Maybe it will dip down sometimes when I throw a two-seamer, but I just really try to go after guys. I donít try to throw any harder or slower. I just try to repeat everything the same.
DL: Can you talk a little about your changeup?
AC: I just started throwing it this year. Thatís what they wanted me to work on, and Iíd say that Iíve taken huge strides from the beginning of the year, when I started throwing it, to now. I mean, I feel like I can throw it in any count, no matter what the situation is.
DL: How do you grip it?
AC: I throw a circle. I kind of played around with it a little in the beginning, but Iíve really gotten comfortable with the way Iím doing it now. Itís something thatÖwhen I was in Daytona, thatís what they told me. Guys were just fouling my fastball off and they told me that I needed to start throwing a changeup more, and itís been a big success for me. The more I throw it, the better feel for the pitch I get.
DL: Your slider has also improved. Was a mechanical change behind that?
AC: Not really. From college to pro ball, Iíd say the biggest thing is that Iíd throw a slider in the dirt a lot, and in college guys would swing at it most of the time, and here in pro ball guys will lay off that pitch. Now Iím getting to where Iím just aiming it in a different area. Iíll drive to that area and Iíve been able to throw it for more strikes, and I just throw it in the dirt when I need to. Iíd also say that it has been more consistent since Iíve been in pro ball. I wouldnít say that itís gotten any better, just that itís been more consistent as far as strikes.
DL: Are you repeating your delivery better?
AC: Yeah. Iíve kind of changed a few things up. Another thing they wanted me to work on was holding runners better and Iíve gone basicallyÖIím kind of trying to wean myself off of going up with my leg and having a leg kick. Iím trying to just slide step every time Iím going to home plate with runners on first, or on second, who are fast. I mean, I kind of pick my situations, but most of the time I go out of the slide step.
DL: Are you on the mound trying to miss bats and get strikeouts?
AC: When I get two strikes on a guy, I do try to strike him out. When I was a reliever at TCU, I would come into situations where you need a strikeout, but mostly I just try to make my pitches and hit my spots. But the biggest thing I try to get is ground balls. Thatís what I try to live off of, because when you do get guys onóif you walk somebody or give up a hitóthe chance for a double play is always there if you keep the ball on the ground.
DL: Do you have a different mentality as a starter than you did as a closer?
AC: I would say so. I would say that my mentality has changed, but I also donít know that Iíve tried to change anything. I just go out there and try to repeat everything that I do during the week. I try to keep my routine the same and not change anything. As a reliever you have a chance to throw every single dayÖwell, maybe not quite every single day, but if you have a bad night you can get back out there pretty quickly. If you have a bad night as a starter, you have five days to think about it. I think thatís the only thing that is really different for me. I mean, all of the in-between work between starts has been a big thing. You just have to have a good routine and stick to it.
DL: I believe that you were on a pitch count this year?
AC: Yes, I was on a pitch count all year
, which was kind of frustrating, but itís probably good for me. I donít think I threw over 85 pitches. I had strained my oblique, so I was on 45 pitches for maybe two starts, and then I was on 65 for probably half the year, and then 85 for the rest. That really teaches you to manage your ballgame
, because you know what you have. I mean, youíve really got to make quality pitches
, which is a big thing for me. And my arm still feels great, so I think it was probably a good thing for me, even though itís frustrating when youíre throwing really well in the sixth and want to keep going. I guess itís one of those things where maybe someday Iíll look back and say, 'Man, I sure am glad that they didnít make me throw more than that.'
DL: Do you know what your pitch count will be this coming season, or if your future is as a starter or out of the bullpen?
AC: I havenít really talked to anybody about next year, so I donít really know what the plan is for me, but I do know the plan I have for myself
. I want to get to the big leagues next year and Iím going to do everything I can to get there, whether it is as a starter or as a reliever. ItĎs going to be a big spring training for me, I think. I have a full season under my belt already, and Iím going to come into spring training ready to go and fight for a job.
DL: Being in the National League, youíll have to swing a bat. Do you enjoy hitting?
AC: I love hitting, actually. Itís one of my favorite things. I played a position in high school, but itís obvious that the higher you go up, the better the pitchers are. Itís just one of those things where I take pride in my extra work, so I do a lot of bunting on the side, but if the situation calls for it and I get to swing it, Iíll be ready. Iím not that great of a hitter, though. I love to hit, but I think I better mostly focus on the mound.
DL: Youíve had an opportunity to play with Josh Vitters, both in the regular season and here in the Arizona Fall League. Can you give a brief scouting report on him?
AC: Vitters has some of the best hands Iíve seen as far as hitting. Heís got a great swing and he makes contact a lot. I mean, a lot of people get on him because he didnít have a lot of walks this year, but whenever he gets a good pitch he drives it somewhere. Heís just got phenomenal hands at the plate. Heís going to be good.
DL: How about Starlin Castro?
AC: Heís got phenomenal defense, and heís been hitting really well here in Arizona. Heís made some really good plays behind me this year, and itís just fun to watch Castro play defense. On a lot of hard plays, you donít realize how hard they are because of how easy he makes them look.
DL: If you had to face Vitters and Castro, would you pitch them any differently?
AC: It would kind of depend on what the situation was, but mostly Iíd try to get ahead of them, because they both can hit. Iíd try to attack them and make them hit my best pitch. Thatís pretty much my approach.
David Laurila is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact David by clicking here
or click here
to see David's other articles. ....... "
So he's expanded his tool-box and changing speeds as well as has adopted the approach of going for ground balls (the Greg Maddux influence?). Let us see; a big kid with exceptional natural stuff who is developing complementary tools and has developed a real strategy and philosophy about pitching. And he's a Cub!
This kid could be very good.