[ed. note - “This is the sixth and last in the series on the 2020 draft class. You can check out the Nationals’ other picks HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.”]
WASHINGTON – A first-round draft pick, no matter the team, normally has expectations and obligations thrown on them even in the first year of pro baseball.
That may come from fans who want an autograph, even at lower levels of the minors, and writers and broadcasters from local and national outlets who would like an interview with a top pick.
Cade Cavalli, 22, certainly didn’t have to deal with much of either one this year, as the minor league season was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
While the right-hander from the University of Oklahoma didn’t get to play a season, Cavalli did take part in Instructional League in West Palm Beach, Florida for most of October, after taking part in the alternate site in Virginia this summer.
“He really made the best of his opportunity this year,” said Mark Scialabba, assistant general manager, player development. “We were fortunate to get him when we did (at No. 22 overall). The scouts did an outstanding job.”
“This year was a unique an introduction to professional baseball as you could imagine, going straight from the draft to shortly thereafter being home and going to summer camp a few days and then going down to alternate camp in Fredericksburg.”
“He is very mature beyond his years. He has an idea who he is, has leadership qualities and from a pitching standpoint shows all of the ingredients you want in a front-line starter.”
Cavalli was 1-2, 4.18 in four starts this past year for The University of Oklahoma. He pitched in 11 games with two starts as a freshman in 2018 and made 12 starts in 2019.
“You’ve just got to stay in control, let your mind think clearly against these hitters, and they’re your buddies, so you can have fun with them too, it’s been awesome,” Cavalli told reporters of pitching at the alternate site this year.