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10 facts to know about Nats' top pick Cavalli

@paul_casella
June 10, 2020

Cade Cavalli, the Nationals' top pick at No. 22 overall in the 2020 Draft, showcased his two-way abilities during his time at Oklahoma, though the right-hander is expected to focus on pitching at the professional level. Here are 10 facts you should know about Cavalli. • Along with playing baseball,

Cade Cavalli, the Nationals' top pick at No. 22 overall in the 2020 Draft, showcased his two-way abilities during his time at Oklahoma, though the right-hander is expected to focus on pitching at the professional level. Here are 10 facts you should know about Cavalli.

• Along with playing baseball, Cavalli has a passion for cutting hair. In fact, Cavalli has an Instagram page (@cavz_cutz) dedicated to his craft, showing off the work he's done for teammates, friends and family. It's a hobby that started early for Cavalli, who buzzed his own hair as a kid before later buying a self-cut system that enabled him to cut and style his own hair with more detail. He's become the go-to barber for many current and former Oklahoma baseball players.

• When he's not cutting hair in his free time, Cavalli is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys both duck hunting and bow hunting for deer with his teammates and his brother, Tristian.

• Cavalli's father, Brian, also played baseball at Oklahoma in 1990. Brian Cavalli was selected in the 50th round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the Cardinals, but instead chose to attend college and play for the Sooners. He later spent one season as a catcher for Class A Boise in the Angels' farm system.

• Similar to his father, Cade Cavalli was drafted out of high school -- he was taken in the 29th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Braves -- but instead opted to play at Oklahoma.

• Cavalli, who also played basketball in high school, set the Bixby High School record for doubles and extra-base hits in a single season as a junior. Cavalli didn't take the mound until he was a sophomore at Bixby High and missed most of his senior season with back issues, but still emerged as Oklahoma's top prep pitching prospect in 2017.

• That back injury didn't stop Cavalli from contributing as a two-way star upon his arrival at Oklahoma. He played in 62 games (55 starts) as a freshman, hitting .202 with six home runs, while also striking out 18 batters over 17 1/3 innings in his 11 pitching appearances, including a pair of starts.

• Cavalli took his game to another level in 2019, starting 12 Friday games on the mound and appearing in another 19 games as a designated hitter. He went 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA over 60 1/3 innings, while posting a .319/.393/.611 hitting line across 72 at-bats. Cavalli's all-around contributions earned him First Team All-Big 12 honors as a utility player.

• His fastball sits at 92-96 mph and tops out at 98 mph with riding action. Cavalli can also make hitters look bad with a low-80s curveball that has both power and depth, and he has developed an upper-80s slider/cutter that is catching up to his curve, according to MLB Pipeline. He's shown the potential for an average changeup, though he'll need to start using that pitch more often.

• Cavalli was selected to play for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team last summer. He made one appearance for Team USA, allowing one run over 2 2/3 innings in his lone appearance against Cuba.

• Cavalli was off to an impressive start on the mound in 2020, racking up 37 strikeouts to just five walks over 23 2/3 innings in four starts before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.