I’ve written a few things about the Cubs potential starting rotation this off-season and I find myself doing it again. However, this time I am wanting to focus on two potential starters in Casey Coleman and Andrew Cashner.
I’ll start with Coleman. If you don’t already know, the 23 year old right hander is a third generation Major League Baseball pitcher. His grandfather, Joseph Coleman, pitched from 1942-1955. His father, Joe Coleman, pitched from 1965-1979. And now it’s Casey’s turn. His grandpa won 52 career games, his father won 142 career games and Casey has won 4 games in his brief big league career. Casey pitched 57 innings last year going 4-2 for the Cubs. He made 12 appearances with 8 starts. During Casey’s 8 starts he won 4 and loss 2 with a 3.36 ERA. Not bad numbers. His last 4 starts were great including 7 shutout innings against Houston on October 1st, his last start of the year.
Considering how well Casey pitched in the rotation last year I think he will make a strong case for the 4th or 5th spot in the rotation this spring. I am guessing the Cubs will send him to Iowa if he doesn’t make the rotation over Wells, Silva or any other pitcher competing for a spot in the rotation. If he does get sent to Iowa, I anticipate he will be the first pitcher called up to be a starter.
Next I want to say a few things about Andrew Cashner. Andrew is a tall 24 year old right hander with great stuff. He pitched 54.1 innings out of the bullpen for the Cubs in 2010 compiling a record of 2-6 and a 4.80 ERA. He did manage to strikeout 50 batters which is a very good sign too. Cashner was primarily used as a starter in the minor leagues, but was brought out of the Cubs bullpen last year after being called up. His numbers in the minors were excellent, but I have read he needs to work on his changeup if he wants to be a starter in the big leagues. I think the Cubs will be faced with a big decision this spring with Cashner. Do we try to make him a starter or reliever? If the Cubs want him to be a starter, I believe he will start the year in Iowa to work on his pitches….mainly his changeup. However, I can see him making the big league team as an arm out of the pen. I do not want the Cubs to handle Cashner the same way we did Jeff Samardzija. Let’s define what role Andrew is going to play (starter or reliever) and stick to it. I believe he will make the Cubs out of spring training as a reliever, but could see him eventually become a starter at some point in his career….not this year though.
Cashner and Coleman give me confidence in our younger pitchers. I think both of these guys have the chance to make an significant impact for the Cubs in 2011 and beyond. Keep an eye on both of these guys Cub fans. I know I will.