With the Kansas City Royals having potentially 7 of the top 100 picks in next June’s draft (although it’s looking less likely every day), we’re going to be doing a ton of draft coverage here at Royals Farm Report. Part of our draft coverage will include draft targets for the Royals for the upcoming draft. Our first one will be over a lefty from the north east that I really like.
Tim Cate is a LHP from UCONN that is listed at 6′ 0″ and 187 lbs. The size is something that is fair to worry about but as long as he continues to fill out, he could profile similarly to former Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez who was listed at 6′ 0″ and 205 lbs.
Cate has pitched 158 innings in his first two seasons at UCONN. His career ERA is 3.02 with 203 K to just 58 BB. He’s also pitched for Team USA’s collegiate national team in both 2016 and 2017. He was named a freshman All-American after his 2016 spring in which he posted an ERA of 2.73 in 13 starts.
There’s a lot to like about Tim Cate. He locates his fastball well and his over-the-top arm angle gives it some good sink that helps him to produce ground balls. His changeup is pretty good but would probably be considered “developing.” The money maker for Cate is his curveball. The thing is an absolute hammer and is devastating to both right and left-handed hitters. Check out this video around the :30 mark for a couple of Cate’s curveballs.
The thing I love most about Cate is his floor. Cate strikes me as a guy like Foster Griffin where I would be a bit surprised if he doesn’t reach the big leagues. He throws three pitches well, commands his fastball, and sits in the low-90’s. That will play from the left side.
The concern obviously would be the ceiling for Cate. The velocity isn’t huge, and, from what I can tell, he doesn’t have the ability to reach back and get 95 if he needs it. Danny Duffy had a great year in 2017 pitching in the 90-93 range. Pitching in the low-90’s isn’t an issue. Duffy though has the ability to throw the baseball 95-96 mph which can help to keep hitters honest, which would be a huge factor in determining Tim Cate’s upside.
Here’s why I’m optimistic on Cate.
In high school Cate was pitching in the mid-upper-80’s. During his two years in college he’s built his velocity up to pitching in the 90’s. I am confident that Cate has the frame and the ability to one day pitch in the 90’s at the big league level with the ability to reach 94-95 if he needed it. He’s still just 20 and still has a few years to grow before he’d be near Kansas City.
Here’s why I think this works.
The Royals have a bit of a history drafting high floor guys out of college. AJ Puckett is the biggest comparison I’d have for Cate. I don’t think Cate will climb to KC at 18, he’d more than likely be a competitive balance pick in the 36-42 range. This would be a fantastic pick for an organization that struggles to develop starting pitching. Cate has a very high floor with an outside chance to be a number 2 SP in the big leagues one day.