On Monday May 31 the Chicago Cubs called up their 2008 first-round draft pick, Andrew Cashner, and designated him to the bullpen.

Cashner was a closer at Texas Christian University, but the Cubs immedaitely moved him into the rotation. In this new roll, Cashner realized a great deal of success and improved at each level.

This season in a starting roll at Triple-A Iowa he was 3-0, with a 0.95 ERA, and 0.83 WHIP (with a 14:2 strikeout to walk ratio).  

Late in May the Cubs made the decision to convert him back to a reliever.

Why would they do this when Cashner was enjoying success as a starter? I believe it is out of desperation for some much needed help in the Cubs’ bullpen.

Not only do I believe this move was made out of desperation, but I believe it is a very poor move for Cashner’s future.

In his book, Pitch Like a Pro , Leo Mazzone discussed this type of situation. He believes when young fastball pitchers are converted into relievers, they will fire away with blind heat throwing practically nothing but fastballs and won’t learn anything about real pitching.

Mazzone goes on to say, “the most important thing a pitcher can do to improve his pitches is accumulate a lot of innings.”

Suffice it to say, it’s difficult to accumulate innings and improve the quality of your pitches when you are working out of the bullpen as a youngster.

I tend to agree with Mazzone and that is why I do not believe this is the best use of Cashner. I believe this decision will most likely delay Cashner’s climb to becoming a premier pitcher in the Cubs’ rotation and hope it is quickly changed.


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