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You would assume that, because he throws over 100 mph, Cashner relies on sheer velocity to get batters out rather than pitching to do the same.
Not exactly the truth when you investigate.
Data from Brooksbaseball.net shows that in his 10-pitch, sixth inning appearance against Seattle, Cashner grouped all of his pitchers in the upper half of the strike zone. They also had little lateral movement break, all rising at least seven inches from the release point.
Compare this to the game’s preeminent hard throwing right-hander Justin Verlander and you will see a remarkably similarity of vertical pitch trajectory.
In fact, Cashner has even more vertical rise than the reigning AL Cy Young winner.
All of this gives him an above average strikeout ratio.
In the minors, Cashner averaged 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings—a very good mark for a prospect. What's really encouraging is how we he was able to translate that 8.0 strikeouts per nine into the majors, having the same exact average.
To put that in perspective, Verlander’s career average only betters Cashner by 0.3 strikeouts. If Cashner had a consistent role in last year’s Cubs season and met his average, he would have ranked 30th in the majors.
Since the one-two punch of Jake Peavy and Chris Young moved on, the Padres have been in desperate need of a pitcher who can provide strikeouts. Mat Latos looked to be the guy, but he was dealt in the offseason to Cincinnati.
Cashner looks to be the man to take over the punch-out role.