We don’t have a set date for the 2020 MLB amateur draft yet, but we now know that it will be held between June 10th and July 20th, with fewer rounds and a signing deadline that will be no later than August 1st. We are going to continue the Draft Prospect Watch series as normal, even if the date gets pushed back to July 20th. Worst case scenario is that you know a lot about more draft picks than normal.
The Pittsburgh Pirates own the seventh overall pick in this draft, as well as the 31st and 44th overall picks. Their draft bonus pool for five rounds was announced recently. Each Saturday, we will take an in depth look at one prospect who could be a good fit for that seventh overall pick, as well as another who rates a little lower and fits better with those two lower picks. In case you missed it, here’s our draft preview article.
We have posted 11 Draft Prospect Watch articles so far, which are all linked here:
Today we look at something new from Baseball America. Back on Wednesday they had the Pirates selecting Max Meyer in their new mock draft. Also included in that link is the new draft prospect rankings from BA. They expanded from 300 to 400 spots, but they also received more scouting reports and some players saw movement in the earlier rankings. Two of those players on the move are covered here today.
Cade Cavalli from Oklahoma and Bryce Jarvis from Duke are both right-handed pitchers and they’re two of the biggest movers on this list. We start with Cavalli, who moved up ten spots from #32 to #22 in the last update. He was actually going to be mentioned in this article before the update, because the Pirates have the 31st overall pick as well. At 32nd overall, I had planned to fit him in with another college pitcher today (not Jarvis). Now at 22nd overall, he might be too good for the 31st pick, but not enough to be considered for the seventh overall pick.
Cavalli has a workhorse frame at 6’4″, 226 pounds. He’s a bit old for his draft class, turning 22 this upcoming August. BA has him hitting 98 MPH with his fastball, while “sitting mid-90s with ease”. His slider is an out pitch against both lefties and righties, sitting in the 87-90 MPH range. BA calls his curve and changeup solid average pitches with potential for more. MLB Pipeline actually likes the curve more than the slider, giving them 60 and 55 grades respectively.
There are questions here, starting with his control. BA says that his fastball can get erratic at times, while Pipeline gives him a 45 grade for control. He’s also missed time twice with injuries, including three weeks during the 2019 season. There is reason to believe that he has even more upside than we have seen. Besides the big frame, scouts like his delivery and arm action, which could lead to better control. He also didn’t focus on his pitching until last year, so he doesn’t have a lot of mound time.
Cavalli had a chance to really improve his stock as a junior. His current resume doesn’t scream early first round pick, but he has a lot more projection than your average college junior. He also has potential for three plus pitches and the workhorse frame you look for with a starting pitcher.
Here’s a video from Perfect Game Baseball from early this college season
Here’s a 2080 Baseball video from last summer
Next up is Bryce Jarvis, who made a name for himself this year by throwing a perfect game. He looked like a third round pick at the end of last year, but BA jumped him up 36 spots, going from 81st to 45th overall. With the Pirates selecting 44th, a player on the rise who ranks right where they are selecting could be an excellent choice.
Jarvis is 6’2″, 195 pounds and he turned 22 years old on the day after Christmas. I mentioned that Cavalli was a little on the old side for his draft class. While Jarvis is definitely old for the class, a full eight months older than Cavalli. Jarvis was drafted out of high school by the Cleveland Indians in 2017, but he picked his commitment over signing, which looks like it will really pay off.
Jarvis had an interesting background which led to his improvements. Instead of pitching summer ball, he worked out with Driveline and Cressey Sports Performance. BA notes that he went there to improve his pitch mix and velocity and there were immediate payoffs. He went from low-90s to sitting 93-96 MPH late in games. Jarvis also commands his pitches well now, which wasn’t the case before. He shows a plus slider that sits mid-80s and an above average changeup with plus potential.
This is a second case where scouts may not have seen enough to fully get on board here. As BA points out in their scouting report, there will be questions as to whether the improvements stick and whether or not he can hold that velocity later in the season. Jarvis split a relief/starter role as a freshman, throwing 47.2 innings. He increased to 75.2 innings last year, but with the summer off training last year and only 27 innings before this season ended, stamina will be an unanswered question for now. He has some effort to his delivery, which adds to that question mark.
Here’s video of all 27 outs during his perfect game
This video from Perfect Game Baseball was the start that followed the perfect game