WASHINGTON - In a normal minor league season, pitcher Cade Cavalli would perhaps be winding up a stint in the New York-Penn League or the Gulf Coast League in the Nationals’ system.
Instead, the first-round pick from June has been able to be around pitchers with Major League experience at the alternate site in Fredericksburg as part of the 60-player pool.
Among the pitchers who have gone from the alternate site to the Nationals are Dakota Bacus and Ben Braymer.
Cavalli, 22, is probably years away from being a Major League regular. But for now, he has been able to soak up knowledge from older pitchers in Virginia.
“As far as development, it is learning how to use his weapons and sequence his pitches,” Brad Holman, pitching coordinator in player development, told Federal Baseball. “And also how to set hitters up and also how to repeat his delivery; he has a very repeatable delivery.”
“He is very good at what he does. The one thing he has to do is compete, how to get back on track when he gets off track,” Holman added.
The 6-foot-4 Cavalli has been used as a starter in Virginia and throws about every five days – or sometimes six.
“We take an off day every seven days,” Holman said. “That means sometimes (starters) have an extra day. Every day there are two starters facing each other then we sprinkle in the relievers at the end.”
Cavalli was 1-2, 4.18 in four starts this past year for the The University of Oklahoma. He pitched in 11 games with two starts as a freshman in 2018 and made 12 starts in 2019.
Another high pick at the alternate site is Tim Cate, a lefty pitcher who was taken in the second round out of the University of Connecticut in 2018. Cate made 13 starts at both low Single-A Hagerstown and high Single-A Potomac last season.
“He has been outstanding,” Holman said of Cate. “Tim has a little bit of a cut action on his fastball on the glove side. Since he has been here he has learned a two-seam fastball, slash sinker, and also a changeup. He has been able to manipulate the baseball where he moves it the other way and go arm side.”
In his pro career, Cate is 13-15, 3.59 in 39 games, with 38 starts.
“He has worked really hard staying in the lane on the glove side,” said Holman, who pitched for Seattle in 1995.
“He has a well-above average curveball. One thing he possesses is instinct. It is fun to watch him get guys out.”