Tim Cate is the first UConn baseball player off the board in the MLB Draft, going in the second round (No. 65 overall) to the Washington Nationals.
Although projected as a first-round pick in the preseason, Cate struggled out of the gate before going down with forearm tightness after a March 29 start against Hartford. He missed the next 50 days before returning out of the bullpen against ECU on May 18. Cate was exclusively used as a reliever for the remainder of the season, throwing 11 1⁄3 scoreless innings in four appearances.
He boosted his draft stock in his final appearance in a UConn uniform, tossing 5 1⁄3 innings against LIU Brooklyn in the NCAA Tournament to help the Huskies’ avoid elimination.
Cate has a solid fastball that hovers around 90 mph but his curveball is regarded as one of the best in college baseball. Even with two strong pitches, he’ll likely need to develop a third in order to become a major league starter. Durability is also a concern as Cate had Tommy John Surgery in high school and dealt with forearm tightness — typically a precursor to the surgery — this season.
He the highest pitcher to be taken since Anthony Kay was selected in the first round by the New York Mets in 2015 and one of two Huskies to be taken in the second round, joining Nick Ahmed (Atlanta Braves, 2011).