The Washington Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Cade Cavalli out of the University of Oklahoma with the No. 22 selection in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo, Assistant General Manager & Vice President of Scouting Operations Kris Kline and Director of Scouting Operations Eddie Longosz made the joint announcement.
Cavalli, a 6-foot-4, 226-pound junior went 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA (11 ER/23.2 IP) and 37 strikeouts against just five walks in four starts for the Sooners, prior to the cancellation of the 2020 season. He tossed 7.0 innings and allowed just one run on six hits while striking out nine batters on Feb. 21 against Illinois State. In his following start on Feb. 28 against Arkansas, he struck out 11 batters and walked none in just 5.0 innings.
Prior to the 2020 season, Cavalli was named to the 2020 Golden Spikes Award (top amateur player) preseason watch list. He was also named a preseason Third-Team All-American by Baseball America.
Cavalli entered the 2020 First-Year Player Draft rated as the No. 22 draft prospect by Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com. He is considered the No. 9 pitching prospect (No. 6 RHP) in the Draft by Baseball America, and MLBPipeline.com places him as the No. 10 pitcher (No. 7 RHP) in the Draft.
As a sophomore in 2019, Cavalli earned a selection to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team, as well as First Team All-Big 12 honors as a utility player. He made 12 starts going 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA (22 ER/60.1 IP) and 59 strikeouts. He also appeared in 19 games as a designated hitter, batting .319 with five doubles, two triples, four home runs, 17 RBIs, 16 runs scored, a .611 slugging percentage and a .393 on-base percentage in 72 at bats. Following the season, he was a member of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
In 2018, Cavalli appeared in 58 games (53 starts), making 11 appearances (two starts) on the mound going 3-2 with a 6.75 ERA and striking out 18 batters in 17.1 innings. At the plate, he hit .202 with six home runs, seven doubles, 28 RBI, 31 runs and 33 walks.
A native of Bixby, Oklahoma and a graduate of Bixby High School, Cavalli was a four-year varsity player and excelled on the mound and in the field during his prep career. He earned Tulsa World First-Team honors and Third-Team All-American honors from Perfect Game, throughout his high school career. Considered one of the top high school prospects in Oklahoma, Cavalli was originally selected in the 29th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft by the Atlanta Braves, but chose to attend the University of Oklahoma.