Nationals sign first-round pick Cavalli

First-round pick Cade Cavalli signed with the Nationals today, only nine days after the Oklahoma right-hander was drafted 22nd overall in the country.

Terms of Cavalli’s deal weren’t immediately available, but the Nats have room to go above Major League Baseball’s designated $3.027 million slot value for the 22nd pick. The club created extra space to spend more on their top three picks by signing fourth- and fifth-round picks Brady Lindsly and Mitchell Parker to bonuses well below their assigned slots.

Under normal circumstances, the quick signing of a top draft pick would allow him to start working out and playing professionally this year. But with this minor league season expected to be eliminated due to the coronavirus pandemic, there likely won’t be an opportunity for Cavalli and other 2020 draft picks to begin their playing careers until perhaps the fall.

Cade Cavalli Throws Oklahoma Sidebar.jpgCavalli, the fourth consecutive pitcher the Nationals have taken in the first round of the First-Year Player Draft, had a 4.18 ERA and 37 strikeouts with only five walks over the 23 2/3 innings he was able to pitch for Oklahoma this spring before his junior season was shut down. In 12 starts as a sophomore, he went 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings while also batting .319 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 19 games as a designated hitter.

The 6-foot-4, 226-lb. right-hander focused exclusively on pitching this year and said he only intends to pitch as a professional.

Projected by some to go higher in the draft, Cavalli had no qualms about falling to No. 22, given who was picking in that spot.

“I ended up with the best organization out there,” he said. “I’m fired up to be National.”

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