Nats prospect watch: Cate working on fastball command

Good update here on left-hander Tim Cate and his progression prior to the shutdown. Nationals minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman said Cate was making nice strides at camp and focusing on a few mechanical adjustments prior to the season beginning. Holman said they got started early this year with Cate in West Palm Beach.

Cate, 6-foot and 185 lbs., is listed at No. 8 in the latest MLBPipeline.com top 30 roundup of Nats prospects.

No. 8 Tim Cate

“Tim was down in instructional league as well, the minicamp that we had,” Holman said. “Then he came with the group to spring training. We had a group of pitchers that showed up early, mostly starters, and gave us a little more time to stretch them out prior to the beginning of the season.”

Tim-Cate-Delivers-Potomac-Sidebar.jpgThe 2018 second-round pick went a combined 11-9 with a 3.07 ERA at low Single-A Hagerstown and at high Single-A Potomac. He struck out 139 over 143 2/3 innings and walked only 32, with his career-best 1.14 WHIP.

Holman said Cate has the makeup of a pitcher and an athlete thirsty for knowledge. He said the University of Connecticut product wants to learn and find a way to make adjustments to make each outing more successful. There is one adjustment the coaching staff focused on with Cate regarding his fastball command.

“Tim is very cerebral. He wants information. He wants to get better,” Holman said. “Obviously, being left-handed, he’s got an edge. He throws a fastball, breaking ball and changeup. His tendency is to pull the ball a little bit, gets a little bit of a cut action to his fastball and sometimes trying to go arm side he has a tendency to pull the ball back into the zone a little bit.

“So this most recent approach with him has been to help him maintain or stay in that lane on the arm side so he doesn’t pull the ball back into the zone. He’s got some mechanical things he’s working on but nothing extensive and he’s really good at taking information and running with it. Immediately applies it and makes quick adjustments. He loves the game.”

Cate, 22, could throw with his left and right hand as he grew up. And just like Angels star Mike Trout, Cate can hit a golf ball a long way.

“He’s an athletic guy,” Holman said. “We had a little function where we went to this place, kind of like Top Golf, in West Palm Beach. We took Tim over there and watched these guys hit a golf ball. You can really tell who’s athletic and who’s not. He can really let it fly on a golf ball, as can (Jackson) Rutledge and a lot of those guys. He’s got a really high ceiling.

“His command is something that he’s working towards in the delivery as well as just the thought and ideas that go a long with pitching. Just part of the process. Moving along at a rapid speed. He’s another one that I would guess we might see in the next year or two.”

After solid work at high Single-A Potomac last season, Cate is primed to see how his pitches play against the Eastern League at Double-A Harrisburg this season. He demonstrated he can get guys out and, with close to 150 innings, showed durability as well. Now the exciting next step is to go up against Double-A talent and make that next step to D.C.

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