Cade Cavalli struck out six of the ten batters he faced over three scoreless innings in his 2022 Grapefruit League debut this past weekend.
Cavalli, 23, and a first round pick from 2020’s Draft, is in camp with the big league club this spring after working his way from High-A to Triple-A in 2021, and the top prospect in the Washington Nationals’ system is getting a shot today to face the St. Louis Cardinals on the road in Jupiter, FL’s Roger Dean Stadium, with manager Davey Martinez joking with reporters in his pregame press conference yesterday about the possibility Cavalli could make the club’s roster for Opening Day.
“That’s a very good question,” Martinez said when asked if it might happen, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “One that I cannot answer right now. ... I think that’s for the higher-up.”
Cavalli put up a combined 3.36 ERA, 60 walks (4.38 K/9), and 175 strikeouts (12.77 K/9) in 24 starts and 123 1⁄3 IP on the year across the three levels in the minors in 2021, but after he didn’t pitch outside of the alternate training site in 2020, and he struggled at times with his command and walks last season, so there’s clearly still work to do, and as Martinez told reporters earlier this month, the starter knows where the focus needs to be.
“The biggest thing for him,” Martinez explained, “as we tell all of our young guys and even our veteran guys: if you can’t throw the ball consistently over the plate, the struggles are going to be big for you.
“Especially when you get up here and the hitters are so much better, I think, because they got a good eye.”
With the Cardinals likely to send a number of their expected everyday players out there for today’s game, after an off day yesterday, it should be a good test for Cavalli, and we all get to watch it (at least if you have MLB.tv).