Nats Pitching Prospect Cade Cavalli continues to show potential
Every time the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings team leaves Minor League Baseball, the Nationals’ pitching hope Cade Cavalli gain valuable experience. He learns to establish a game plan for each opponent and to refine his secondary throws. On Saturday, April 30, the Nationals’ top prospect had his best start of the season, whirling 5 1/3 no-hitters in a 3-0 win over the Syracuse Mets. The outing was his longest of the season and his first win of the year.
“When you don’t give up any success, it’s always a good thing,” Cavalli said. city paper. “I had a lot of contact at the start. I threw a ton of fastballs [on Saturday]. I was really trying to locate him and get a lot of weak contacts…I’m still on the hunt. It’s not just the punches I’m looking for. I was really happy to have had a lot of early and weak contact.
The Nationals have struggled to get off the blocks this season and one of the main reasons is that they don’t have the starting pitcher to challenge NL East hitters. Stephane Strasbourg is still in rehab in Florida, and although Josiah Gray showed promise, opening day starter Patrick Corbin struggled. As the No. 37 prospect on MLBPipeline.com’s Top 100 list, Cavalli’s arrival in the big league is highly anticipated. The Nationals earned another year of control over Cavalli because he stayed in the minors for the first two weeks of the season. Despite some solid outings, including his no-hitter and shutout start for Rochester, the big league club want him to gain more experience in underage play.
Red Wings coach Matt Le Croy wants Cavalli to work on improving his off-speed pitches as he progresses towards DC If Cavalli can establish an above-average off-speed pitch like the one used by Strasbourg, he can take the next step.
“His stuff is electric,” says LeCroy. “When you have a fastball playing at 97-98 mph and when it’s located the way he can locate [it, it’s impressive]. I think that change is a step that must be taken for it to be dominant.
LeCroy credits new Rochester pitching coach Raphael Chaves, who came to the Nats organization with extensive experience as a coach and coordinator with the Mariners, Yankees, Dodgers and Phillies, for coaching Cavalli to throw “quality hits.” Cavalli says Chaves has been invaluable in refining the switch and when to use it.
“Whenever the game needs a change, make it happen,” says Cavalli. “Working with Chavy on the switch has been really good. It’s something I’ve developed since I picked up a ball and started throwing around my sophomore year of college. It’s been a really good throw for me the last two years, and I’m just ready to keep throwing it.
The key is to throw the change so it looks like his fastball coming out of his hand. Cavalli and his coaches use high-speed cameras to analyze how his throws move in different holds. Video analysis helps establish the muscle memory needed to throw the pitch the same way every time.
“It’s a very difficult shot to throw,” Cavalli said. “It’s something you have to throw almost every day and keep feeling. Change is a great “terrain of sensation”. I think just throw it with the right arm speed and not slow your body down and deliver with a fastball effort and just let the grip play. You have to tinker with grips in order to find the motion profile you want.
Change mastery started in college or Oklahoma under a reputable coach Skip Johnson, which has an impressive track record for developing the best potential pitchers. Johnson says Cavalli came to him before his junior season and told him he wanted to go from being a two-way player to just focusing on throwing for the Sooners.
“We worked on changing him a bit,” Johnson says. “We worked on his breaking ball, his slider, his curve ball, his delivery. Learn to repeat these things. He’s an incredible athlete. But his humility is more astonishing. That’s what people lose about Cade. His humility reminds me [Clayton] Kershaw. You wouldn’t even think he was that good talking to her. That’s what I love about Cade.
Cavalli credits much of his throwing repertoire to Johnson’s coaching.
“He played an important role in my development as a pitcher,” says Cavalli. “I was obviously under his wing when I started pitching full time. I spent a lot of time, a lot of hours, in the bullpen. Lots of hours in his office trying to figure out how my body is going downhill and how to be the best pitcher I can be.
Cavalli is open to listening and learning, and sees the value in every coach he comes in contact with. He doesn’t act like he already knows everything. Cavalli knows it’s only been four starts in Rochester and isn’t looking too far ahead. his focus is on this forthcoming departure.
“He’s coachable,” LeCroy says. “He’s learning game planning with Chaves. Learning to look at guys’ weaknesses, taking advantage of the information we get from our analytics department, our scouting department, and being able to use that to your advantage.
Even if the Nationals live up to their projected potential at the bottom of the NL East, the summer of 2022 for Cavalli will be about building on every start, mastering change and deciding when to implement every pitch to keep batters out. of balance. If Cavalli can continue that progression, he could get his shot at Nationals Park later this season.
“Cade will continue to compete, fight and grow,” LeCroy says. “If he stays healthy with everything he has, he has a chance to be a really good pitcher for us at the big league level.”