Brewers Draft Prospect Profile: Oklahoma RHP Cade Cavalli
By David Gasper
Our series looking at potential selections for the Milwaukee Brewers in next month’s MLB Draft continues with a look at another college pitcher.
Recently, we took some looks at Garrett Crochet and Cole Wilcox as possible Brewers draft picks, with both of them coming from the college pitching ranks.
Now we turn our attention to Cade Cavalli, a right-hander out of the Big 12 Conference, who MLB Pipeline ranks 22nd in their top draft prospects list.
Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
When it comes to Cade Cavalli, there is a big boom potential. Cavalli typically sits in the mid-90s on his fastball, and has reached 98 MPH from time to time. His fastball also has good movement and he pairs it well with a power curveball that’s about 10-15 MPH slower. He also has a cutter that has shown plus potential and a changeup that’s still developing, but could be a solid pitch.
Cavalli has the potential for three above average pitches in his four pitch mix. Standing at 6’4″ and 226 pounds, he has the size, velocity, and pitch mix to be a frontline starting pitcher in the big leagues one day. There’s huge upside there.
However, Cavalli has a big bust potential as well. He’s struggled with injuries in the past, including a stress reaction in his pitching arm last year, and back issues during high school. When he has been on the mound, Cavalli has struggled with command.
Cavalli had a breakout year in 2019, starting 12 games for the Sooners and posting a 3.28 ERA in 60.1 IP, giving up 35 walks and striking out 59.
He was having a really strong start to the 2020 season before it was unceremoniously cut short, starting four games with a 4.18 ERA in 23.2 IP. Cavalli had 37 strikeouts to just five walks in those starts.
His two best starts were against Illinois State and Arkansas. Against Illinois State, Cavalli went seven strong innings, allowing just one run on six hits with nine strikeouts. Against Arkansas, Cavalli only went five innings, allowed three runs, but struck out 11 Razorbacks. Only four outs that he got were not via the strikeout.
For the Brewers, there’s a lot to like about his potential, but there’s also a ton of work to do to develop him into the frontline starter that he could be one day. He’s not as polished as a drafting team might hope a college pitcher would be, but the allure of finding a potential future ace in the back half of the first round might be too much to pass up.
Cavalli is projected to go right around the time the Brewers are on the clock, but this is not a slam dunk selection if he’s still on the board. If the Brewers player development staff feel they can improve his command and get to his full potential, then he makes sense as the pick. Staying healthy is also key for Cavalli’s future, and Brewers scouting director Tod Johnson is going to have to be comfortable spending a first round pick on a college arm that has a limited track record.
We’ll find out how comfortable the Brewers would be with taking Cavalli on June 10th when the first round of the MLB Draft takes place. Until then, it’s just a guessing game.