Bits: Andrew Cashner's 2014 value 

September, 17, 2013
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has 22 home runs and 75 RBIs this season, and is owned in more than 92 percent of ESPN standard leagues. Rizzo is seen as one of the building blocks of the young Cubs, a middle-of-the-order presence for years to come. The Cubs acquired him in Jan. 2012 for a young power arm with upside, one that couldn’t stay healthy and whose ultimate role remained problematic. It seemed like a big Cubs win when Rizzo emerged.

Of course, this year that Padres power arm is definitely healthy, and on Monday night in Pittsburgh Andrew Cashner nearly tossed a perfect game against the playoff-bound Pirates. Cashner’s role is pretty clear these days, as he’s been one of baseball’s under-the-radar success stories. He boasts a 2.36 ERA since the All-Star break and enticing upside. As it is, he ranks better on the ESPN Player Rater than the fellow he was traded for, the Cubs building block first baseman who singled in four at-bats Monday, and while Rizzo’s best days are likely ahead of him, the same can be said for Cashner, owned in fewer than 25 percent of ESPN standard leagues.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Cashner
Denis Poroy/Getty ImagesAndrew Cashner is 2-0 with a 0.88 ERA and 28 strikeouts in his past four starts.
Cashner became the first Padre to throw a one-hit shutout with no walks and seven or more strikeouts. He permitted a Jose Tabata single to lead off the seventh inning, and that was it. There were no other base runners. Cashner lowered his ERA to 3.21, his WHIP to 1.15 and earned his 10th win of his first full season as a big league starter. Let’s call it a success. Cashner, a first-round pick by the Cubs in 2008, was a terrific minor league starter, but durability was a major issue, so much so that the Cubs used him in relief in 2010, and the Padres weren’t entirely sure what to do with him. Even this April, Cashner appeared mostly in relief.