WASHINGTON – In his last start for Triple-A Rochester, right-handed starter Cade Cavalli threw 109 pitches – 69 for strikes.
That was on Sunday at Worcester, the top farm team of the Boston Red Sox, and was enough to convince the Nationals that Cavalli was ready for the Major Leagues.
“His last three or four outings have been really good,” Rochester manager Matt LeCroy told Federal Baseball on Thursday.
“His fastball command has been a lot better. His secondary pitches, especially his curveball, have been a strike pitch for him.”
Cavalli, a first-round draft pitch in 2020 out of Oklahoma by the Nationals, will make his major league debut at home Friday against the Reds here in Washington.
He went five innings Sunday and gave up two hits and one run while fanning eight, with three walks.
Cavalli got the win and improved to 6-4 with an ERA of 3.71 this season for the Red Wings.
“His changeup is progressing – it is much better,” LeCroy added. “He is more confident right now; he is built up (with pitch counts). He went 109 pitches the last outing and threw the ball really good against a solid lineup.”
LeCroy pointed out the comments that Washington manager Dave Martinez made to reporters in Seattle on Wednesday about Cavalli.
“Going off what Davey said yesterday, he has checked all of the boxes,” LeCroy said. “I am really happy for him and happy for our pitching coach here, Rafael Chavez. He has done a really nice job with him. I am proud of the work Cade has put into it. I am hoping he will go and keep doing what he has been doing.”
LeCroy informed Cavalli on Wednesday morning, before a day game, that Cavalli was headed to the majors.
Getting to tell young players that news never gets old for the former major league catcher, who played for the Nationals and Twins and is a former bullpen coach for Washington.
“That is what it is all about,” LeCroy said. “He is ready to go. He was built up but he hadn’t built up the sixth or seventh inning.
He had a rain delay in Columbus, which I think he would have gone on to the sixth or seventh. But the rain delay kind of held us back.”
The command of his fastball was something the Nationals wanted to see get better.
“It was where it needed to be,” LeCroy said. “Now the breaking ball is a swing and miss down in the dirt. He has done a nice job of holding the runners and slowing down the running game. We felt it was time for him to be pushed to that next level.”