In today’s entry to the 2020 Major League Baseball Scouting Report series (you can check out all of the reports in the series right here.) we’re going to look at one of the top pitchers from the Big 12, Cade Cavalli. He’s currently rated by Baseball America as the #22 prospect in the draft, #14 by Fangraphs, and #22 by MLB Pipeline.
The 2018 Season
After being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 29th round in 2017, Cade Cavalli chose to head off to Oklahoma to join the team as a 2-way player. He played in 62 games as a freshman, but struggled to hit as he struck out 94 times in 235 plate appearances and put up a .665 OPS.
He also pitched that season, mostly out of the bullpen where he made 9 appearances with 2 additional starts. The results weren’t good there, either. He threw 17.1 innings with a 6.75 ERA as he allowed 18 hits, walked 13 batters, hit three more, and struck out 18.
The regular season campaign was followed up with a trip to the Cape Cod League. In 13.0 innings he posted a 4.15 ERA, but walked 15 batters with 15 strikeouts.
The 2019 Season
As a sophomore his time in the field was cut back quite a bit as he got just 84 plate appearances, but the production was much better as he hit .319/.393/.611. He still struck out a ton, though, fanning 24 times in that stretch.
On the mound he moved into the rotation full time for the Sooners. Over his 12 starts he threw 60.1 innings with a 3.28 ERA. Hie walk rate dropped, but was still a bit high as he handed out 35 free passes – and hit another 8 batters. He allowed 53 hits and struck out 59.
He missed some time during the season with a stress reaction in his arm.
The 2020 Season
The season was shortened, like that for everyone, and Cade Cavalli made just four starts as a junior. In his 23.2 innings there were some very good signs of improvement despite a 4.18 ERA. His four starts came against Virginia, Illinois State, Arkansas, and San Diego State – not exactly an easy schedule, and even with that he walked just 5 batters in his 23.2 innings and he struck out 37. Hitters did seem to do some damage, though, when they did make contact, as he allowed 25 hits in that stretch. He didn’t get a single plate appearance during the season.
Cade Cavalli College Stats
Cade Cavalli Video
Cade Cavalli Scouting Report
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 226 lbs
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Position(s): Right-handed starting pitcher
There are two sides to the scouting report for Cade Cavalli. The first side is the pure stuff, which stands out among a strong draft class. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s and touches 98. His slider is a plus pitch in the upper 80’s and will get as high as 90. And he’s got another above-average breaking ball with his curve in the low 80’s. There’s also a solid change up in the mix, too. Toss in that he’s also 6′ 4″, athletic, and has good mechanics, and you’ve got a scouts dream for a starting pitcher.
But yeah, there are two sides to this one. His performance has been lackluster at times as he’s struggled to throw strikes, and despite strong velocity, hitters seem to see the fastball very well and hit it. He’s also got a history with some injuries, including back issues that cost him time in both high school and early in college.
The stuff is outstanding, but there are plenty of questions that are out there, too.
Where the concern could be
While he showed good control in his 2020 season, it was just four starts and a handful of innings. His control problems are one of the bigger concerns on his resume, but so is his injury history. Because of that, he’s pitched a bit less than other guys in this draft class and hasn’t been able to give scouts as much of a look, nor has he shown the same kind of durability as others.