[ed. note - “With interest in the Washington Nationals’ farm system at a high level, Federal Baseball has begun a series featuring the top 30 prospects in the system as of late last season, according to Baseball America. We will start with No. 30 and work our way to the top over the next few weeks, with one prospect highlighted each weekday.”]
WASHINGTON – The curveball possessed by Tim Cate ranks as one of the best among minor leaguers in the Washington system.
That said, the results haven’t always been impressive for the high draft pick out of the University of Connecticut.
Tripp Keister, his manger this past season at Double-A Harrisburg, admitted late in the season in an interview with Federal Baseball that Cate struggled at times in 2021.
However, the Nationals still seem fairly high on a pitcher who was taken in the second round in the 2018 draft.
After pitching at high Single-A Potomac in 2019 under Keister, the lefty was 2-10 with an ERA of 5.31 in 21 starts this past season for the Senators of City Island in the capital of Pennsylvania.
Cate told the Free-Lance Star in 2019 that he had Tommy John surgery at the age of 16.
“I didn’t handle it well,” he told the paper.
But he became a standout pitcher in college – in the cold Northeast section of the country to boot – and was one of the top pitching prospects in the Washington system as recently as two years ago.
Younger right-handed pitchers, see Cade Cavalli, have gone past Cate on the prospects lists but Cate is still a lefty, and that means a lot.
Cate added a circle change while at short-season Auburn in 2018.
“It’s all real subtle, but it helps,” Cate told the Free-Lance Star. “Just to miss the barrel by an inch or two.”
Now Cate will have to impress a new set of eyes in player development.
De Jon Watson has been named the new farm director of the Nationals.
He takes over for Mark Scialabba, who was promoted by general manager Mike Rizzo.