Today, we’ll take a look at another former Valley Leaguer who is making a few waves in the prospect world- Garrett Cave, who pitched for the Staunton Braves in 2015.
As usual, we’ll take a look at what young Garrett has done at each level, and then what mlb.com says about him, now that he’s in the San Francisco Giants’ minor league system. (Spoiler alert- explosive stuff, but he can’t always control it)
- 2015- Florida International as a freshman. He went 0-1, 5.06, with a 1.65 WHIP, 9.1 BB/9 and 7.4 K/9 in 26 2/3 innings. He walked 27 and struck out 22.
- He joined the Staunton Braves that summer. 1-0, 4.34, 1 save, 1.72 WHIP, 8.4 BB/9, 11.5 K/9 in 29 innings. He walked 27 and struck out 37. (In the playoffs, he walked 7 and struck out 11 in 11 innings.)
- 2016- Back at FIU. 2-3, 4.67, 1.82 WHIP, 8.3 BB/9, 10.9 K/9 in 34 2/3 innings. Walked 32 and struck out 42.
- His breakout- he went to Hyannis in the Cape Cod League. He went 0-2, 1.86, with 10 saves, a 1.19 WHIP, 6.1 BB/9, and 15.8 K/9 in 19 1/3 innings pitched. (13 walks, 34 K’s) This performance, against some of the best hitters in all of college baseball, put him on the map (Do scouts have maps? Do they put a little pin in a spot where a good prospect lives or goes to school?).
- He transferred to Tampa for the 2017 college season, a D-II school in … um… Tampa, Florida. He went 5-2, 4.23, with 4 saves, a 1.25 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, and 12.3 K/9 in 61 2/3 innings. (32 walks, 84 K’s)
- The Giants picked Garrett in the 4th round of the 2017 June draft, and gave him an awesome $417,200 to sign (take care of it, Garrett, and it could last you the rest of your life!). He was assigned to Salem-Keizer of the short-season Northwest League, and proceeded to go 1-1, 5.85, with 3 saves, a 1.55 WHIP, 5.4 BB/9, and 13.1 K/9 in 20 innings.
So it’s pretty clear so far, right? Garrett is pretty tough to hit, but he walks too many batters, as well. Well, mlb.com has him listed at #17 in the Giants’ system, and what they say about him won’t surprise you:
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 40 | Overall: 45
After struggling to throw strikes and having only sporadic success in two years at Florida International, Cave broke out by leading the Cape Cod League with 10 saves while hitting 98 mph in the summer of 2016. He transferred to NCAA Division II Tampa for his junior year, during which he remained overpowering but wild. The Giants, who have had more than their share of success taming power arms, signed him for $417,200 as a fourth-rounder in June.
Cave’s fastball sits at 94-96 mph when he comes out of the bullpen and a tick lower when he starts, with some armside run to go with his impressive velocity. He can blow his heater by hitters and also miss bats with a pair of hard breaking balls, a low-80s curveball with good depth and an upper-80s slider/cutter. He even has the makings of a decent changeup, though he doesn’t use it very often.
Cave bounced between the rotation and bullpen during his college career, and most scouts believe he’ll land in a relief role because he never has demonstrated the ability to consistently command his pitches. He has toned down his delivery some since high school, though he still throws with effort and has trouble keeping his mechanics in sync. He has the stuff to work in high-leverage situations if he can land it for strikes more often.
I really, really like this profile. Learning to harness explosive stuff is a different problem than not having great stuff and having to paint the corners- in ATVL’s opinion, Garrett is in a better position. The Giants will give him every opportunity to learn to throw more consistent strikes, with the hopeful outcome of having a lights-out reliever in the majors.
Good luck, Garrett!