Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Its Cavalli Time!


Cade Cavalli gets the call Photo via Lookout Landing blog

So, the big news of the week is the call-up of top pitching prospect Cade Cavalli. The timing (and change in service time rules) means he’ll still be 2023 Rookie eligible and doesn’t burn enough time to blow a year of service time.

Is this premature? Probably not. Cavalli started out a little slow this year in AAA, basically getting shelled in five of his first seven starts. In mid May he had a 7.62 ERA. However, as of this writing through his combined 20 starts he’s gotten that seasonal ERA all the way down to 3.71. His AAA FIP is a nifty 3.23, and across the board he’s improved upon his 2021 AAA numbers in every category (K/9, BB/9, ERA, fip, whip, HR/9, etc etc).

HIs MLB debut was about what you’d expect; 7 runs in 4+ innings, 97mph on his fastball, 6 Ks almost all on his offspeed stuff (which looks amazing: his curve was knee buckling and his circle change at 88 with a ton of reverse movement was fantastic).

I can’t remember the last time we had a prospect debut with this much fanfare; Strasburg or Harper probably. His call-up was non-nats blog worthy, something we havn’t seen in a while.

As others noted, his start coincided with a big chunk of our “up the spine” future in place: Ruiz catching, Cavalli pitching, Abrams at short and Garcia at 2nd. None of them older than 24, all of them with prospect buzz.

The next generation of our franchise has started.

Written by Todd Boss

August 27th, 2022 at 7:04 am

Posted in Nats in General

7 Responses to 'Its Cavalli Time!'

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  1. Well, it wasn’t Strasmas II, but I’m glad they’ve started his MLB experience. The only way to learn how to get out MLB hitters is to face them. If you look at the numbers from the first couple of years of even many of the greats, from Scherzer to Greg Almighty Maddux, most weren’t great immediately. And of course we watched from afar how long it took Giolito to put everything together.

    I wasn’t initially a huge fan of the Cavalli pick, both because the Nats needed hitters (and subsequently have had to trade for a truckload of them) and because he gave up a lot of hits-per-nine. He still does on the latter (worrisome that his high velo is straight and hittable), but all in all, it’s wonderful to have a draft pick who is in the majors two years after being picked. That’s how it’s supposed to work with top college players, but it hasn’t worked that way with the Nats since their 2011 pick.

    I’m not convinced that Cavalli is the Strasburg for this rebuild, but if he can be the Jordan Zimmermann, that would be a significant piece.


    27 Aug 22 at 8:01 am

  2. first and foremost for all pitching prospects is staying healthy. all we can do there is cross our fingers.

    from a stuff standpoint, no shortage here. if he can continue to refine and learn how to pitch to MLB hitters then we’ll have one piece of the puzzle in place.

    good note on the up the middle crew. too bad Victor has failed to maintain his promise but they don’t lack for replacement possibilities anymore.


    27 Aug 22 at 2:39 pm

  3. Every promotion Cavalli had he struggled initially. He then slowly figured it out and began to dominate.
    He’ll be fine.

    Mark L

    27 Aug 22 at 4:05 pm

  4. Amen on staying healthy. Real concerns on that for Gore as well. I’m glad they’ve decided that there’s no reason to rush him.


    27 Aug 22 at 5:36 pm

  5. One of the big offseason questions for the Nats regarding young pitching development is whether Jim Hickey is the guy to oversee it. I thought he would be good when the Nats hired him based on his work with a lot of good young pitchers with the Rays a decade ago, but I’ve seen a lot of grumbling in the Natosphere that he doesn’t seem to be doing a lot with our young guys right now. He certainly doesn’t seem to have been able to do anything to help Corbin, either.

    I sure never understood why they moved on from Menhart, other than Hickey had been with Davey in Tampa and Chicago.


    29 Aug 22 at 11:38 am

  6. Aaaaaaand now Cavalli is hurt/going on the IL. This organization made a deal with the devil or something in 2019.


    31 Aug 22 at 10:45 am

  7. Just leave Cavalli shut down for the rest of the year, and Gore as well. Start anew in the spring. The little MLB experience each would get isn’t worth the risk of having them come back while not 100%.


    1 Sep 22 at 3:03 pm

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