The Rangers added starting pitching depth by signing Andrew Cashner to a one-year deal. With the move to the American League, what is his fantasy value?
After the two moves the Houston Astros made on Thursday, the Texas Rangers needed to make a move of their own to stay competitive. With most of the team set, there wasn’t much the Rangers needed. There was a vacancy in the starting rotation. I say was because the front office filled that by signing Andrew Cashner. What is his fantasy value with the move to the AL West?
The Rangers declined the option of 29-year-old Derek Holland after a mediocre season. He went 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 22 games. The team would have had three left-handed pitchers in their rotation, which is hard to come by, but felt that Cashner will provide better numbers.
Cashner split time with the San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins last season. In 28 combined games, he posted a 5.25 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and a 5-11 record. I don’t hold that last stat against him because the Padres and Marlins don’t provide the best run support for its starting pitchers.
He also had 112 strikeouts and 60 walks in 132.0 innings. The increase in strikeouts Cashner has over Holland could be another reason the Rangers made the switch.
With Cole Hamels posting 200 Ks, Yu Darvish getting back on track with 132 in 100.1 innings and the emergence of Martin Perez and A.J. Griffin, both having over 100 strikeouts, the Rangers rotation could be the New York Mets of the West.
Despite the high ERA and WHIP, Cashner did post some good numbers elsewhere. He had a 46.5 ground ball rate and 23.3 opposite field hit percentage.
He did allow more home runs and fly balls compared to 2015. His 33.1 fly ball rate and 14.5 HR/FB rate, three percent higher in both categories. Opposing batters crushed Cashner’s pitches. He posted a12.5% soft contact in 2016, worst in all of baseball among pitchers who logged at least 100 frames.
Cashner will have a bit of a learning curve moving to the AL West. He doesn’t have much experience pitching in those parks. He has a combined nine games with a 5.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 1-2 record. Cashner has never pitched at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland or where his new team plays at Globe Life Park.
From a fantasy perspective, Cashner could see a resurgence in Texas. I wouldn’t draft him in standard leagues as he doesn’t rank inside my top-250 overall players. Obviously, things change in AL-only or deeper leagues.
It’s a smart move for the Rangers and he could be an early waiver wire claim if it goes well.