The MLB lockout is in full swing with no light at the end of the tunnel. The two sides have yet to come close to reaching an agreement and it is looking increasingly likely Spring Training will be pushed back.
For Washington, they still have plenty of questions marks to answer and roster holes to fill. But the majority of their core is in place for 2022. With the Nationals projected to finish last in the NL East, how the young core develops will determine how long the rebuild will take.
A year ago we gave some bold predictions for the 2021 season and now it’s time to do the same again.
Cade Cavalli Wins NL Rookie Of The Year
Ok, many things have to go right for this to come true. Cade Cavalli is expected to start the season at AAA and needs to work on his command. After flying through A+ and AA, Cavalli struggled at AAA last season, going 1-5, with a 7.30 ERA, and 24 strikeouts in 24 2/3 inning. However, he did lead the minors in strikeouts with 175.
Part of his struggles stemmed from his body not being used to the workload, as he was worn out. The 123 1/3 innings he threw last season was the most of his career. An entire off-season to strengthen his body will help the 23-year old handle the rigors of a full season, allowing for him to bounce back.
It is widely assumed he will make his Nationals debut at some point during the 2022 season, with May or June as a likely timetable.
Cavalli has an impressive four-pitch mix, led by his heater that tops out at 101 mph with riding action. Behind it, his curve sits in the mids 80s with power and depth. His slider and change-up are solid out pitches, that allow Cavalli to attack hitters with ease.
Cavalli is seen by many as the future of the Nationals rotation, but he needs to throw more strikes in the zone instead of relying on people chasing everything outside. If he can accomplish that, then he will be set up nicely to become the first Nat to win Rookie of the Year since Harper.