Friday, October 7, 2022

Nationals’ Cade Cavalli hits injured list with shoulder inflammation days after MLB debut

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Washington Nationals right-hander Cade Cavalli was placed on the injured list on Tuesday because of shoulder inflammation, and the Washington Post reports that Cavalli will be shut down for two weeks. The Nationals’ final regular season game is scheduled for October 5, or five weeks out. That suggests Cavalli will have a limited chance to make it back before the offseason.

The 24-year-old Cavalli, Washington’s first-round pick in 2020, had only made his big-league debut last Friday. He threw 4 1/3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds, surrendering seven runs (all earned) on six hits. He walked two batters and he struck out six on 99 pitches. His fastball averaged 95.6 miles per hour, per Statcast.

Here’s how Washington manager Dave Martinez characterized the injury:

Cavalli entered the spring ranked by CBS Sports as the 36th-best prospect in the minors. Here’s what we wrote at the time

Cavalli, whose injury and control woes at Oklahoma caused him to slip to the 22nd pick in 2020, made it all the way to Triple-A in his first professional season. His results may have been a mixed bag (he had a 3.36 ERA and a 2.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio overall; his marks in six Triple-A  starts were 7.30 and 1.85), but there’s myriad reasons for optimism that he’ll debut in 2022 and turn into an above-average starter. Among them: Cavalli has the size, athleticism, and stuff (in addition to a big-time fastball, he has a pair of good breaking balls). Ultimately, those same old brickbats — command and durability — may dictate if he’s more than a No. 3.

The Nationals would be wise to err on the side of caution as it pertains to Cavalli. They are, of course, in the midst of a rebuild. Washington entered Tuesday with a 43-85 record on the season, the worst mark in all the majors.

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