Cade Cavalli worked his way up to make his MLB debut this past season, but inflammation in the right shoulder of the 2020 1st Round pick landed him on the IL following his first big league start, and though the 24-year-old worked behind the scenes trying to get back on the hill before the year ended, Washington’s Nationals decided to shut him down.
MacKenzie Gore, 23, came over from San Diego as one of three players with some major league experience in the six-player return from the Padres for Juan Soto and Josh Bell, even though inflammation in the left-handers’ left elbow landed him on the IL shortly before the deadline deal.
Gore, a 2017 1st Round pick by the Padres, made his own major league debut in mid-April this past season, posting a 4.50 ERA, a 4.12 FIP, 37 walks (4.76 BB/9), 72 Ks (9.26 K/9), and a .248/.346/.376 line against in 16 games, 13 starts, and 70 IP for San Diego before he landed on the IL on July 25th. He made four rehab starts in the Nationals’ system before he too was shut down for the year.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez was asked at the Winter Meetings earlier this month how the two pitchers were progressing, and if they would be good to go come the start of Spring Training.
MacKenzie Gore, 9th and 10th Ks. pic.twitter.com/vwrvBzotoI— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 4, 2022
“They’re right where they need to be right now,” Martinez said of the two starters who figure to be part of the Nationals’ rotation in 2023.
“They’re taking their winter and getting ready for Spring Training as they normally do,” he explained.
“Cade said he’s ready to fire the ball, and I told him, well, don’t do that yet. We’ve got plenty of time. But he’s fired up.
“And MacKenzie, same. He’s ready to go. Looking forward to watching both those guys healthy in Spring Training.”
Cavalli made 20 starts, and threw 97 innings total at Triple-A Rochester in the Nationals’ system, giving up 39 walks (3.62 BB/9), striking out 104 batters (9.65 K/9), and holding opposing hitters to a .215 AVG, with a 3.71 ERA, and a 3.24 FIP, in his second full season in Washington’s system.
Cade Cavalli, Wicked Breaking Balls.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 25, 2022
And a Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/33WcJhyISn
In his MLB debut on August 26th, Cavalli gave up six hits, two walks, and seven runs in 4 1⁄3 IP, over which he threw 99 pitches.
“We didn’t see much of him in the Major Leagues, but this guy is a competitor,” the Nats’ skipper said.
“He’s young, but I know that he wants the ball. He’s eager. He’s hungry. I’m looking forward to getting him in Spring Training and seeing what he can do.
“I think he’s going to have an unbelievable career, but like I said, he’s still young, and he’s still young to pitching. The biggest thing is that he comes to Spring Training healthy.”
In Martinez’s mind, Cavalli is heading into Spring Training as part of the 2023 Nats’ rotation.
“I’ve got him penciled in as a starter for us, and rightfully so. I think he’s earned it.”
“He checked all the boxes for us last year in Triple-A,” the manager added. “He was going to get an opportunity to pitch.
“Obviously, got hurt. We’re looking forward to getting him back.”