Starter Andrew Cashner of the San Diego Padres has gotten off to an impressive start in 2014, building on his successful 2013 season. Now in his third full season with the Padres, Cashner seems to be tapping into his sizable potential, transforming into a top-of-the-rotation starter in the process.
Cashner was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the 2008 MLB amateur draft. The right-hander debuted with the Cubs in 2010, pitching out of the bullpen. He was eventually traded to the Padres in a deal that sent first baseman Anthony Rizzo to Chicago.
Cashner broke through last season, starting 26 games for the Padres. He pitched quite well, sporting a 3.09 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. These numbers suggested that Cashner had turned the corner for the Padres, with bigger and better things on the horizon.
The 27-year-old has always had the talent, but has been plagued by injuries throughout his relatively brief career. A variety of arm injuries have derailed several seasons for Cashner, including 2011 with the Cubs when he received his first starting opportunity in the big leagues. He managed only one start that year before a rotator cuff injury essentially ended his time in Chicago.
While he did return briefly in September of that year, it was out of the bullpen and Cashner was traded in the offseason. His first full season with the Padres in 2012 was also foiled by a number of ailments.
The 2013 season proved to be a renaissance for Cashner, as he was able to stay healthy enough to log 175 innings for the Padres. Cashner is a former first-round selection for a reason, and there was never been any debate over his stuff. This could be the season where it all comes together for Cashner, and the results have certainly supported this argument so far.
Cashner went six innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night, allowing seven hits and four earned runs in a 4-3 Padres loss. The four earned runs increased his ERA to a still impressive 2.10. It is a testament to the season Cashner has had to date that this start was easily his poorest of the year. If he remains healthy, Cashner should continue to produce for the Padres, serving as their ace now and possibly into the future.