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Waiver Wire: Cash in on Cashner

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Since the Head-to-Head loophole of letting starting pitchers slot in as relievers continues to exist, owners are going to want to take a closer look at Andrew Cashner this week.

The 26-year-old, who started the season in the bullpen, is now a full-fledged member of the rotation. Cashner apparently wanted it so badly that he didn't even require a long stretching-out period. He went from four innings on April 20 to six on April 26, jumping from 65 pitches thrown to 83. His next start should be a full-fledged Cashnerpalooza, with 95-100 pitches thrown, a flirtation with seven innings, and a near-guarantee of one strikeout per inning.

Cashner isn't Tony Cingrani, but he can offer a Fantasy team something close. He has that relief pitcher eligibility. He can strike out a batter per inning. And he should be able to keep his ERA (2.76 in 205 1/3 minor league innings) and WHIP (1.19) at decent levels. With his fastball averaging 95.7 mph in his two starts, Cashner seems primed for a good deal of success

One very important note on Cashner for his would-be owners to consider, however, is this: his career high in innings pitched is 111 1/3, which he managed in 2010. The closest approximation to this would be Jose Quintana, whose career high in innings pitched before last year was 102. In 2012, Quintana threw 185 innings. His final six games, all in September, were decidedly ugly: a 6.75 ERA and 1.99 WHIP. If Cashner is having a solid season through late July, you might want to consider the innings hit on his arm, and begin feeling out offers for him.

But that's still several months away. For now, grab him in your leagues, exploit the rules, and enjoy your Andrew Cashners!

The Big Leaps

Nate McLouth, OF, Orioles (75 percent ownership, up from 14 percent)

I'm not in the business of regurgitating information two days in a row on the site. My colleague Scott White went very deep into the pros of Nate McLouth in his "Reality Check" column Tuesday. I will add this, however: after his ascent in 2007 and his two big seasons in 2008 and 2009, McLouth just fell apart in 2010 and 2011 in Atlanta. Reasons? He played through abdominal and shoulder pain in 2011 (he was eventually shut down in July) and was concussed in June of 2010 after starting off the season incredibly cold. These may not be stone-cold factors in his seeming demise, but something clicked back on in Baltimore, and McLouth seems to be re-energized.

He doesn't quite have the upside of a "must-add," but if you're looking for a solid outfielder who can be slotted in and left to produce at an Alejandro De Aza-type level, McLouth could be your man.

Over/under on home runs (season): 17
Over/under on average (season): .255
Over/under on steals (season): 11.5

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies (63 percent, up from 25)

Most Added Players (as of 5/1)
Player Name % change
1. Nate McLouth, OF, Orioles 61
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies 39
3. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Athletics 38
4. Kyle Kendrick, SP, Phillies 35
5. Yuniesky Betancourt, 1B, Brewers 32
6. Andrew Cashner, SP, Padres 32
7. Russell Martin, C, Pirates 24
8. Justin Grimm, SP, Rangers 23
9. Kevin Gregg, RP, Cubs 20
10. Jose Valverde, RP, Tigers 17

Arenado was recalled without much warning, and the collateral damage -- the release of clubhouse favorite Chris Nelson, who wasn't exactly terrible (.242 average with an ugly .600 OPS) -- was a bit of a surprise, as well. But Arenado is here, and it looks like he's not going anywhere. As one of Colorado's (and baseball's) top prospects, Arenado can offer a team some help in power and batting average.

Arenado enters a pretty solid situation, joining a lineup with Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Wilin Rosario, and Dexter Fowler. He's not expected to carry the team, but should benefit in counting stats (runs, RBI) just from being in that lineup. While fellow third base call-up Anthony Rendon is in danger of being sent back to the minors when Ryan Zimmerman is back from the DL, Arenado has no such worries -- Reid Brignac isn't going to push Arenado for his job, and the man he's replacing is searching for a new job with another team.

For the rest of the season, I'd still rather have Mike Moustakas on my team than Arenado, but I've picked Arenado up in any league possible -- even if I already have Moustakas -- because he'll probably play well enough to develop into a viable trading chip.

Over/under on average (season): .269
Over/under on home runs (season): 17
Over/under on his ownership by May 15: 90 percent

Unadvised Drop of the Week

Ben Revere, OF, Phillies (63 percent, down 11 percent)

With a .207 average and five steals, Revere isn't quite getting it done for his owners. But there are some encouraging signs here. In the seven games before Revere was knocked out with a minor injury, he hit .240 and scored four runs. Additionally, his BABIP this season is .237, well below his career average of .303.

Revere is walking at about his career rate, but his 15.1 percent strikeout rate suggest that he's maybe pressing with the new team, in a new league. Revere is only 24 years old, and hit .294 with 40 steals last year. We've seen players struggle a little when switching leagues. We've also seen Revere struggle early in the season -- in 108 April at-bats, Revere has a career .213 average and .248 OBP. He may just be a slow starter.

I'm willing to give Revere, who will eventually return to the leadoff spot and hit ahead of a very underrated Phillies lineup, the benefit of the doubt. He'll turn things around, get back on base, and should be good for 35-40 steals on the season.

Over/under on home runs (season): 0
Over/under on batting average (season): .280

The Flavor of Next Week

Trevor Bauer, SP, Indians (36 percent ownership)

So far, Bauer's major league career has been a big bouncy ball of disappointment -- a 5.91 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in five starts. But Bauer's four starts last year came with an injured groin, and his one start this year was just killed by his control -- in five innings, he walked seven batters (but only gave up two hits!)

Bauer will start for Cleveland on Wednesday, and even though the team is calling it a spot start, there's a pretty good chance that if Bauer pitches to a level of which he's capable (he's been a top 15 prospect each of the last two years), he can stick around and work himself into a two-start situation next week.

Bauer currently has a 2.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in three Triple-A starts this season. He's struck out 24 batters in 18 innings, and has only walked six total batters in those three starts. There is skill here, but Bauer has yet to put it on full display in the majors. And this makes him a wonderful target for Fantasy players -- Bauer has pretty much flamed out twice, giving would-be owners a touch of weariness when they're about to click on that big green cross next to his name to add him. Blow past the hesitation -- the upside of Bauer is too great to pass up, especially if he manages to stick around for more than this one start.

Over/under on starts (season): 24
Over/under on ERA (season): 3.80
Over/under on K/9 (season): 9.5

American League-only fun

David Phelps, SP, Yankees (21 percent ownership)

For most of his minor league career -- 90 of 91 appearances, to be exact -- Phelps was a starter. And he was an exceptionally good one, with a 2.51 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 515 1/3 innings. It's a little unfair to judge Phelps by his track record as a starter in the majors, as his only real consistent run came in early September, when he had to stretch out and contend with an arm that had been accustomed to pitching relief innings for most of the season.

Phelps probably won't strike out a batter per inning (his nine strikeouts in four innings last week were probably an aberration) and he may need a start or two to get stretched out, but AL-only owners would be wise to add him in their leagues, especially in Head-to-Head formats, where he can be slotted as a reliever.

Over/under on starts (season): 15
Over/under on ERA (season): 3.20

National League-only fun

Francisco Liriano, SP, Pirates (21 percent)

This recommendation is based on one factor: Ray Searage, the pitching coach for the Pirates, who resurrected A.J. Burnett's career and guided the Pittsburgh staff to the 13th-best ERA in the majors last year. Burnett is the only pitcher on the staff who had marked success before joining the team, and Liriano fits that bill -- a once-brilliant starter who has fallen on some very hard times, looking to return to what worked for him earlier. I'm not fully convinced Searage is Leo Mazzone 2.0, but he has found success with a variety of pitchers, and Liriano could be next in line.

In his current minor league rehab assignment, Liriano has improved with every start -- his last two have been dominant -- 11 total innings, with a 1.64 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 17 strikeouts. With Jonathan Sanchez gone, James McDonald struggling and Jeanmar Gomez not exactly the most exciting of options, Liriano should be up relatively soon, and could carry over his recent success to the majors. for what it's worth, Liriano -- in his first go-round in the National League -- has a stellar track record in interleague play, with a 3.31 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 126 strikeouts in 117 innings pitched. It's a risk, but a calculated one -- adding him now could be a sly move, as Liriano's minor league exploits will gain more attention and the secret will soon be out.

Over/under on starts (season): 21
Over/under on ERA (season): 3.70

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Rangers' Alexander Claudio hoping to earn a role
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:27 am ET) Rangers pitcher Alexander Claudio is hoping to be the team's lefty in the bullpen, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Claudio is one of three lefties in camp competing for the job. He performed well in his first taste of spring training, retiring two lefties during his inning of work. He allowed one hit, and struck out two batters. While Claudio's fastball barely registers on the radar gun, manager Jeff Banister still came away impressed.

"I like the secondary stuff," Banister said. "He's accepted the type of pitcher he is and is willing to be that guy. He’s really intriguing with the kind of deception he brings."

Claudio posted a 2.92 ERA over 12 1/3 innings last season.


Dodgers' Erik Bedard willing to go to Triple-A
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers pitcher Erik Bedard is willing to go to Triple-A if he doesn't break camp with the major-league club, according to MLB.com.

Bedard allowed one run over two innings in his first taste of spring action on Wednesday. The veteran said he knows that if the Dodgers five starters are healthy, he'll be sent to the minors. "I know where I stand," Bedard said. "The game is still fun. I like to play baseball."

Bedard posted a 4.76 ERA over 75 2/3 innings last season. 


Dodgers' Alex Guerrero willing to play third base
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers infielder Alex Guerrero has been willing to learn third this spring, according to MLB.com.

Guerrero is in a bit of a unique position. With Howie Kendrick entrenched at second, Guerrero doesn't really have a spot in the team's infield. Due to his contract, however, the team can't just send him to the minors. Guerrero can block the move, and has already said he plans to do so if the team tries to send him down. If he can play third well, that may not be a problem.

For what it's worth, manager Don Mattingly believes Guerrero has looked better this spring. "I really do think the second year [in camp] he looks a lot different as far as being relaxed," Mattingly said. "He's swinging the bat well and he keeps improving."

The 28-year-old hit .333/.371/.621 over three minor-league levels last season. 


Twins' Byron Buxton doubles twice on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton doubled twice on Wednesday against the University of Minnesota.

Buxton came into last season ranked as one of the best prospects in the minors. He had injury issues, which ended his season early. While Buxton is still considered the Twins top prospect, he was passed by other players in the overall prospect rankings due to the injuries. 

Buxton seemed to be 100 percent on Wednesday, doubling twice during the contest. He scored one run and drove in one RBI. The 21-year-old should open the season in the minors, but could debut as early as this season depending on his performance. 


Twins' Jose Berrios strikes out four on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Twins starter Jose Berrios struck out four during his first spring appearance on Wednesday.

Berrios took on the University of Minnesota, and turned in a good showing. While Berrios is a minor-leaguer, he's only 20, and was taking on players his age. Berrios allowed one hit and one unearned run over two innings of work. He struck out four batters.

Berrios is the team's third-best prospect according to Baseball America. He's expected to begin the year in the minors, but could move quickly based on how well he performs. 


Diamondbacks pitcher Braden Shipley makes debut Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Braden Shipley pitched two innings in his spring training debut Wednesday, allowing just one baserunner and recording one strikeout. Shipley admitted he was a bit worried in his first appearance, reports AZCentral.com.

"I was a little nervous going in, but that was expected," Shipley said. "I think it was more excitement for me. That was really fun."

Manager Chip Hale said he expects Shipley to make starts in his next few appearances this spring.


Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson faces batters for first time this spring
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson was able to face live batters for the first time this spring since recovering from back surgery, the 27-year-old tweeted Wednesday.

Anderson was only able to pitch 43 1/3 innings in 2014 with a 1-3 record and 2.91 ERA after suffering the back injury that cut his season short. 


White Sox SS Tim Anderson looking to become long-term solution
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) White Sox prospect Tim Anderson is on a mission in spring training this year. He wants to prove that he belongs in the majors with the big boys.

"Just show them I can stay at short and my defense has come a long way and it's going to get better," Anderson said. "I want to be a shortstop for a long time. I'm going to be a shortstop. I'm going to work hard to stay there."

Anderson is currently considered Chicago's No. 2 prospect and could be just the prospect the White Sox are looking for. In his 2015 debut, Anderson smacked a two-run single.

"I'm just staying calm and trying not to do too much and just doing what I've been doing to be here," Anderson said. "It has been exciting to get in here and work with all the big leaguers and get my reps in and see how they go in the daily routine."


Reds' Kevin Gregg hoping to win a spot in the bullpen
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Reds pitcher Kevin Gregg is hoping to win a spot in the team's bullpen, according to MLB.com.

Gregg may be 36-years-old, but understands he still needs to prove himself.  "I don't mind coming in and earning a spot," he said. "I'm coming off elbow surgery. At this point in my career, it's something I need to do."

Gregg had bone chips removed from his elbow in August, but was able to hit 92 mph in a showcase in February. He believes his velocity has improved since then.

Manager Bryan Price had good things to say about Gregg thus far. "He looks great. He looks durable," Price said. "He's got hand speed. He's crisp with his location. I've been extremely impressed with Kevin to this point."

The 36-year-old tossed just nine innings in the majors last year.


Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Reynolds sidelined with oblique injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Reynolds was scheduled to throw batting practice Wednesday, but was unable to do so while dealing with a sore right oblique, reports MLB.com.

"I'm like, 'I'm in here again, I can't get out of this darn room,'" Reynolds said.

Reynolds missed all of 2014 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he isn't having any issues with the elbow.

"My elbow feels real good," he said. "It feels strong."


 
 
 
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