OU Baseball: Cade Cavalli Selected in First Round of MLB Draft
NORMAN — University of Oklahoma right-handed pitcher Cade Cavalli became the program’s most recent first-round Major League Baseball draft pick when he was selected 22nd overall by the Washington Nationals Wednesday night.
Cavalli is OU’s 10th first-round pick in the regular June draft, second in the last three years and the third since 2013. Kyler Murray was the ninth overall selection of the 2018 MLB Draft while Jonathan Gray was selected third overall in 2013.
“I’m extremely excited for Cade and his family,” Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said. “What makes him special is not only his athletic ability, but his intangibles as a leader and as a person. The development he has made over the course of three years has been tremendous. You’re talking about a kid who came in as a two-way guy. He played more first base than he pitched in his first year, and last year he hit as well as pitched every Friday. It’s been a blessing to watch his growth as we went through this process. It shows how much he’s developed at OU, and he’s had such a big impact on our program. I’m really excited to watch him continue at the next level.”
A product of Bixby, Okla., Cavalli served as Oklahoma’s Friday night starter for the last two seasons and was a member of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in 2019. The junior began his career as a two-way player before shifting his focus solely to pitching for the 2020 season when he helped the Sooners to a 14-4 record and a top-10 national ranking in the shortened campaign.
Cavalli was recognized as the 2020 Big 12 Preseason Pitcher of the Year and a Baseball America Preseason All-American. He made four starts, compiling 37 strikeouts and only five walks in 23.3 innings. He was at his best on the biggest stage, tallying 11 strikeouts and no walks over 5.0 innings against Arkansas in the Shriners College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
As a sophomore in 2019, Cavalli earned first-team All-Big 12 honors as a utility player. He went 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 60.1 innings over 12 starts on the mound, and batted .319 with four home runs, five doubles, two triples, 17 RBIs and 16 runs scored in 72 at bats as a designated hitter. He made 53 starts in the lineup and nine relief appearances and two starts on the mound as a freshman during the 2018 season.
A total of 277 players have been drafted into Major League Baseball out of Oklahoma since 1967 and at least one player has been drafted every year since 1970. OU has had at least one player picked in the top 10 rounds in every MLB Draft since 2011.
This year's draft concludes with rounds 2-5 taking place on Thursday. Coverage resumes at 4 p.m. CT on MLB Network and ESPN2.