Between the two, who do you see the higher upside in? I lean towards Cashner because I think he's the best athlete at the P position in the system.
That "stuff" is a fastball that sits between 94-97 mph and can touch 98, with some arm-side run, though it does straighten out at times. He's not a max-effort guy, and his velocity comes relatively easy with short arm action as he whips the ball to the plate. He pairs his heater with an 83-87 mph slider with very good break that causes scouts to describe it as a hard curve. He also possesses an 80-84 mph changeup that is still a work in progress, but he has made good strides with it over the past few months.
Cashner made nine starts between Double- and Triple-A this season before being switched to relief work for two appearances prior to his call-up to the big club. He bumped up his strikeout rate more than a batter per inning, posted almost a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and allowed just one homer with a 2.05 ERA in 57 innings. In his pro career he has allowed just three homers in 177 1/3 innings. We're seeing the progression we want to see in a power arm; his numbers keep improving, and he's missing more bats as he adds more polish to his game.
At the end of last year, the consensus about Cashner from scouts seemed to be that although he lacked overall command at the time, he was projected to eventually find it -- and perhaps even develop plus command -- despite his tendency to overthrow at times. There was also the feeling that his changeup, while very much hit-and-miss, had the sink and slight fade to be effective. It just seemed to be "on" maybe once every three outings. Cashner just had to be more consistent in not slowing his arm while throwing it, in addition to not "choking" the pitch (a term for when a pitcher grips the ball more tightly than he should, thus making it easier to detect and also more likely to be in the dirt).
By all accounts, his changeup has been a lot more consistent this season, and he has been able to get more swings and misses with it. Plus, he has shown more confidence in throwing the changeup any time he wants rather than falling back on his primary two pitches. Cashner also moved to the third base side of the rubber this season, which has made his slider that much more effective coming from a different angle. This year he has been throwing all three pitches for strikes, carrying his velocity deeper into games, and has even started mixing in a two-seamer on occasion. Cashner's groundball rate has been above-average in his career, which is a sign that he can continue to keep balls in the park even when he makes mistakes.
Found that on the Friendly Confines.
Trying to find a scouting report on McNutt is really hard. Generally I hear low to mid-90's with the fastball, and he's hit 96-97. Plus curveball...Haven't heard much about his changeup.
The changeup is important because it's another reason why I'm high on Cashner. He's got the kind of motion conducive to throwing a good changeup, and lasting as a starter. If McNutt has this then he's serious.