Cade Cavalli To Undergo MRI On Throwing Elbow


Nationals right-hander Cade Cavalli departed today’s game after a visit from the trainer, appearing to shake his throwing arm in discomfort. After the game, manager Dave Martinez told reporters that Cavalli felt “something behind his throwing elbow” and will get an MRI tomorrow, as relayed by Andrew Golden of The Washington Post.

Cavalli, 24, was the club’s first round draft pick in 2020 and quickly rose up prospect rankings. In 2021, he tossed 123 1/3 innings across three different levels with a 3.36 ERA. He struck out an excellent 33.5% of batters faced, though with a concerning 11.5% walk rate. Based on that strong campaign, Baseball America ranked him the #27 prospect in the league around this time one year ago.

Last year, Cavalli made 20 Triple-A starts with a 3.71 ERA, striking out 25.9% of batters faced while walking 9.7% of them. He was able to make his major league debut in August, tossing 4 1/3 innings in his first outing, but shoulder inflammation sent him to the injured list and ended his season.

The Nats are deep into a rebuild at the moment, having traded away most of their established big leaguers for prospects. The 2023 season is lined up to be one dedicated to evaluating many of those younger players, with Cavalli among them. With Stephen Strasburg seemingly not a factor until further notice, the rotation is going to have a couple of veterans in Patrick Corbin and Trevor Williams. That leaves three spots open for the club to get long looks at pitchers like Cavalli, MacKenzie Gore and Josiah Gray.

At this point, it’s unclear what’s next for Cavalli, but the fact that the issue surrounds his pitching elbow is certainly somewhat worrisome. Though the club isn’t expecting to be in a playoff race this year, it would still be unfortunate if an injury absence delivered a blow to his continued development. If he does have to miss some time, a rotation spot could open up for someone like Paolo Espino, Joan Adon or Cory Abbott, with Martinez also mentioning Jake Irvin as an option. Irvin is on the 40-man roster but has yet to pitch above Double-A. If the club decides it needs to bring in a veteran to soak up some innings, the free agent market still features names like Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy and Michael Pineda.

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