Sam Narron was the pitching coach at high Single-A Potomac in 2019 when lefty Tim Cate was promoted from low Single-A Hagerstown.
And the University of Connecticut product – drafted in the second round in 2018 by the Nationals – didn’t miss a beat.
After 13 starts at Hagerstown with a 2.82 ERA, Cate also made 13 starts in the Carolina League and ended with a 3.31 ERA with Potomac.
He was 11-9, 3.07 in 26 starts overall, and gave up just six homers total in 143.2 innings in 2019.
Now Cate, 23, after being part of the 60-player pool in Virginia this summer, has reunited with Narron this month at Instructional League in Florida.
“He has a great breaking ball, one of the best in the organization, one of the better ones you will see,” Narron told Federal Baseball on Thursday.
“He has a really nice feel for pitching,” added Narron, who was slated to be the pitching coach for Double-A Harrisburg this past season. “He has a little bit of a cut to his fastball; he has a nice mix there with his breaking ball and he has been working on a changeup.”
Cate was ranked as the No. 8 prospect in the system by MLB.com at one point this year. He pitched for Auburn in the short-season New York-Penn League and with Hagerstown after he was drafted in 2018.
“The thing that kind of separates Tim he has a nice feel for pitching. He is a real pitcher in the truest sense,” said Narron, who pitched in the majors for Texas in 2004. “His fastball is ticking up. What we have seen over the course of the summer and a little bit here (in Florida) is his fastball is starting to tick back up (with velocity). He has a chance to be have really nice year and help the big league club” down the road.
Narron was not at alternate camp in Virginia this summer but was able to watch video of intrasquad games.