By: Braden Zimmerman
Currently a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma, Cade Cavalli is an intriguing draft prospect for the 2020 draft. Cavalli is a 6’4’’, 226lb two-way player. He can throw a fastball in the mid 90s, and hits a homerun every 31.7 at bats. He was previously drafted in the 29th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves, and was the number 5 prospect coming out of Oklahoma that year.
In his freshman season, Cavalli spent most of his time as a hitter, playing first base and third base. He had an OPS of .665 in 193 at bats across 62 games. He has made strides in his hitting game thus far in 2019, having an OPS of 1.007 in his first 11 games as a hitter. Cavalli did pitch in 2018, only pitching 17.1 innings, having a 6.71 ERA and a strikeout rate of 9.53 per 9 innings. Cavalli pitched mainly as a reliever that year, although he did start a few midweek games throughout the season. However in 2019, Cavalli is the Friday starter for the Sooners, and has a 2.57 ERA through 21 innings pitched. His strikeout rate is down slightly, having only an 8.14 K/9 innings so far this season.
Cavalli is an interesting prospect when comparing him to a couple of young players who recently left college to go professional. An easy comparison is Brendan McKay, who was the 4th overall pick in the 2017 draft and is currently in the Rays organization. McKay is a 6’2’’, 212 lb two way player who spent his college days at Louisville. His numbers in college are better than Cavalli’s thus far, however their freshman hitting numbers are fairly similar. McKay pitched in more innings and had more at bats, had a better ERA and WHIP, but hit less home runs. McKay made big improvements to his pitching between his freshman and sophomore years and had a huge hitting improvement between his sophomore and junior years.
Early into 2019, Cavalli has been a stellar pitcher and is on pace to improve his batting statistics from his freshman season as well. We will really see what Cade is made of when the Sooners start up Big 12 conference play, where they will have to face a few of the top prospects in the 2019 draft class in Josh Jung of Texas Tech and Shea Langliers of Baylor. If Cade Cavalli can improve similar to the way that Brendan McKay did, Cavalli could find his way into the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft.