Here are some updates on a few pitchers working for the high Single-A Potomac Nationals. One of those previewed - Kyle Johnston, the Nats’ No. 21-rated prospect - was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays for right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson last week.
Cate is the left-handed starter taken in the second round of the First-Year Player Draft in 2018. He has gone 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA in eight starts for the P-Nats, with 43 strikeouts and 12 walks over 42 innings.
“Pitchability left-hander,” Keister said. “Got feel for a good breaking ball. He can cut his fastball and sink it. So it can go both ways. He can run that curveball. Got some separation, about 15 miles an hour less than his fastball. He’s getting better feel for his changeup. He’s been fun to get a chance to watch. I didn’t see him much in spring training, so getting a chance to see him pitch every fifth day. He’s getting better each start. I’m glad he’s here.”
Left-hander Raquet (8-8, 4.46 ERA, 97 strikeouts) has made 21 starts for the P-Nats this season. The third-round selection in 2017, the William & Mary product is learning how to pitch and work through tough innings to keep his club in games. One recent example was a seven-inning outing in which he allowed three earned runs and earned the win July 26 at Frederick.
“(P-Nats pitching coach) Sam Narron and I thought he had his best start of his season,” Keister said of Raquet. “He did not have his best stuff. He made a mistake with a ball out over the plate, guy hit one out. We are playing in Frederick, so it’s kind of cozy confines. It was a ball that looked like it was going to get caught and whoa, it went out.
“Then he had a hanging breaking ball for a two-run homer. He kept grinding and kept making pitches, found a way to get through seven. We ended up scoring a bunch in the seventh and he got a win because of it. It was good to see him stay in the game and keep pitching and finding a way to make pitches in leverage spots.”
Left-hander Teel was a 16th-round selection out of Oklahoma State in 2018. He has been working both as a starter and a reliever.
“He’s been kind of that swing guy where he’s made some starts,” Keister said. “He’s been pitching out of the bullpen and now he’s in the rotation. He’s been impressive. This is his first full season. He’s really impressed me. Teel and Cate, (Frankie) Bartow, we’ve got more guys than usual, which speaks to the pitching we have tracked in the last couple years.”
Keister said NCAA Division I pitchers most times begin at low Single-A Hagerstown. But he likes the recent trend of the organization getting players talented enough to begin in Potomac.
“More guys than usual in their first full season that are ending up at Potomac, so that’s good thing,” Keister said. “There’s a bunch of pitchers behind them too. Usually, those first-year guys end up in Hagerstown. It’s been good, but it’s also that learning process of a long season.”
Keister said it’s too early to consider Teel either a starter or a reliever. The organization just wants him to get innings and see how he performs.
“I don’t want to put a label on what he is, whether he is a bullpen guy, whether he’s a starter, because he’s pitched well in both roles,” Keister said. “He’s a lefty that can get lefties out and can get righties out, so that’s something that bodes well for him. I know his velocity was a tick down last time, but it doesn’t matter. He made pitches.”