Top pitching prospect Cavalli getting promoted to Triple-A

The Nationals are promoting Cade Cavalli to Triple-A Rochester, bringing their top pitching prospect one step closer to the big leagues, a source familiar with the decision confirmed.

Cavalli, the organization’s 2020 first-round pick, made 11 starts at Double-A Harrisburg, producing a 2.79 ERA, 1.276 WHIP and 80 strikeouts in only 58 innings. At times, the right-hander dominated the competition, though he continues to have some command issues, which led to 35 walks and five wild pitches in his short time with the Senators.

Thumbnail image for Cavalli-Throws-Blue-Harrisburg-Sidebar.jpgThe Nationals, though, believe the 23-year-old is ready to start facing some more experienced opposition, particularly hitters who won’t be as apt to chase pitches out of the strike zone.

Cavalli’s promotion was first reported by Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan.

The young flamethrower made his final start for Harrisburg on Sunday, allowing just one hit while striking out four during five scoreless innings. That would likely line him up to make his Triple-A debut sometime this weekend when Rochester plays at Syracuse.

Cavalli opened the season at high Single-A Wilmington, where he overwhelmed less-experienced hitters during his seven starts. He finished with a 1.77 ERA, 0.885 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in only 40 2/3 innings, issuing 12 walks.

That was his first true taste of professional baseball, having been limited to pitching at the Nationals’ alternate training site in Fredericksburg last summer after he was drafted 22nd overall in the country out of Oklahoma.

The organization has been monitoring Cavalli’s workload this season with all that in mind. He’s currently at 98 1/3 combined innings between Wilmington and Harrisburg. Now it appears he’ll make a handful of starts for Rochester to finish out the season, then potentially face elite competition in October in the Arizona Fall League.

“We’ve got a plan in place with him,” general manager Mike Rizzo said last month when asked about Cavalli’s workload restrictions. “He’ll finish the minor league season and probably pitch out of ... I’d imagine he’ll pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year, and he’ll have plenty of innings. From where he’s come from to where he’ll be at the end of the season, it’ll be a good workload for him.”

The Nationals also are promoting 2017 first-round pick Seth Romero to Rochester, the first time the left-hander will have pitched at that level. (He did make three relief appearances in the big leagues last summer after the club suffered a throng of injuries.)

Romero’s career to date has been marred by injuries and disciplinary actions, but he’s healthy now and made six starts for Harrisburg this summer, posting a 5.75 ERA and 1.475 WHIP while striking out 34 batters in 20 1/3 innings. At 25, he’s an older prospect at this point. (His promotion was first reported by the Washington Post.)

In addition to those moves, the Nationals are promoting right-hander Joan Adon to Double-A. The 23-year-old, signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager, had a 4.97 ERA, 1.253 WHIP and 91 strikeouts in 87 innings for Wilmington this season, but he just tossed a complete game in his last start and now will get a chance to face tougher competition in Harrisburg.

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