Cade Cavalli, 24, made 20 starts, and threw 97 innings at Triple-A Rochester this season, giving up 39 walks (3.62 BB/9), striking out 104 batters (9.65 K/9), and holding opposing hitters to a .215 BAA, with a 3.71 ERA in his second full season in Washington’s system.
Cavalli was selected 22nd overall in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft by the Nationals.
As well as he was doing, the Nats’ brass decided to allow him to continue to develop at his own pace, noting his relative inexperience after he transitioned from being a two-way player in college to pitching professionally, but they finally decided to call the righty up to make his MLB debut tonight in the nation’s capital.
It wasn’t easy waiting, but the big league club not going anywhere this year likely played a role in the club’s decision-making when it came to the top pitching prospect in the system.
“It’s definitely hard, not having him up here, and wanting to see him compete up here,” manager Davey Martinez said after Cavalli’s call-up was confirmed by the team.
Cade Cavalli was dealing tonight for Triple-A Rochester. He carried a perfect game into the 6th and had everything in his arsenal working. His line:— Matt Weyrich (@ByMattWeyrich) July 7, 2022
7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K
6/2 GO/FO, 74 pitches (54 strikes) pic.twitter.com/N1yyfob0jp
“But then again you’ve got to think of longevity and the future for him, as well as for us, so like I said, I thought [GM Mike] Rizzo, myself, the whole organization did a great job of letting him just get his feet wet, letting him continue to build, and learn how to compete, and he’s done all those things, so he’s going to get an opportunity Friday.”
The Nationals’ plan, barring any setbacks or hiccups, is to have Cavalli finish the season in the big league rotation, so he can test himself and get his feet wet in the majors down the stretch.
“As of right now, we’ll keep him on his schedule, whether it’s five days or six days, we have a lot of days [off] coming up, so we’ll keep all that in mind,” the skipper said.
The hope, Martinez explained, is at some point over the next month-plus, fans might get an opportunity to see a potential rotation of the future in D.C., with Cavalli, Josiah Gray, and recently-acquired, but currently-rehabbing former Padres’ lefty MacKenzie Gore in the big league rotation.
“I can’t wait to see that myself,” the fifth-year skipper said.
“I’ll be the biggest fan to see those guys, all three of those guys pitching. And there’s a good chance it will happen. We’ll see. Like I said, MacKenzie is doing well. He’s right on schedule to possibly pitch this year, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”
But… but … Martinez noted, the Nats will handle Cavalli, 24, Gray, 24, and Gore, 23, carefully.
Gray, in particular, who has been in the majors all season, will be handled carefully as the club tries to get him through the full schedule.
Feeling a breeze? It's just Cade Cavalli logging whiffs.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 14, 2022
The No. 2 @Nationals prospect strikes out a season-high 11 batters for the @RocRedWings! pic.twitter.com/Lma4CRuiGp
“We talked about Josiah. I want Josiah to keep pitching for the rest of the year,” Martinez said, “… but also I want to give him a little bit of a break again, so he’ll miss a start, and we’ll get him back in the rotation, just to keep him fresh, I mean, he’s getting up there in innings to where we feel like we don’t want to push him past a certain amount of innings, but we also want him to continue to pitch for the rest of the year and not just sit around.
“I sat with [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey, we thought about just giving him a little break, he’ll get a little break, he’s going to work on some stuff in bullpens, and then we’ll get him back out there.”
Tonight’s all about Cavalli, however. He was up over 100 pitches in his last outing at Triple-A so the Nationals will let him go as deep as he can against Cincinnati’s Reds tonight in D.C.
“He was up to 109 pitches, so we’re going to let him go and see where he’s at.”