2023 College World Series Player Spotlight: Cade Denton


Over the course of the last three seasons, Cade Denton has established himself as arguably the best reliever in all of college baseball. As a recruit, Denton was largely unheralded and received little to no draft buzz as a senior in high school. In his freshman season for the Golden Eagles, he had a meaningful late-inning role and made 16 appearances. Denton’s numbers were rather modest, as he pitched to a 4.23 ERA with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 29-to-7 in 27.2 innings pitched. Following his freshman summer in the Northwoods League in which he had a 4.40 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched, Denton returned to Oral Roberts ready for a more prominent role. The coaching staff decided to use him as the setup man/closer, and Denton shined in the role. He was nearly untouchable for the entirety of the 2022 season, and finished with a minuscule 0.41 ERA, 55 strikeouts to just 11 walks and an opponent batting average of .155. Denton’s low three-quarter slot, combined with his lethal sinker-slider combination, was devastating for opposing hitters.

Throughout an historic 2023 season for Oral Roberts, Denton would time and time again prove that his 2022 success was the furthest thing from an anomaly. While he tallied 15 saves, the most of any pitcher in the country, and was sometimes used twice in one weekend, Denton was unafraid to throw anywhere from three to four innings if need be. Through the month of March, he had allowed just three earned runs across 12 appearances. Denton would continue his dominance for the entire 2023 season, and especially shined during the tournament in high-pressure situations. He closed out each of Oral Roberts’ three wins in the Stillwater Regional with three saves in as many days. In his four innings pitched at hitter-friendly O’Brate Stadium, he allowed one run on one hit and struck out seven.

After earning the win in game two of the Eugene Super Regional, Denton has had two strong appearances under the bright lights of Charles Schwab Stadium. Last Friday, he earned the save against TCU in game one of the College World Series. In Tuesday’s rematch with the Horned Frogs, he spun a season-high four shutout innings in which he struck out six and walked one. While Oral Roberts’ season came to a close, it was a remarkable run for both Denton and his teammates. They guided the Golden Eagles to their second-ever appearance in the College World Series, their second consecutive Summit League championship and the most wins in program history (52).

As for Denton’s personal accolades, he was an All-Summit League first team selection, the Summit League’s pitcher of the year, a unanimous All-American and college baseball’s Stopper of the Year. He finished the 2023 season with a 1.83 ERA with 86 strikeouts to 15 walks in his 64 innings of work.

While relievers are somewhat tricky as far as where they are selected in the draft, Denton figures to hear his name called somewhere in the fifth- to eighth-round range. Denton has two plus pitches, a sinker and a slider, in his arsenal and attacks hitters from a slingy low three-quarter slot. He pitches in the 93-97 mph range with his incredibly heavy sinker, and his slider has an impressive miss rate of 45% with big-time sweeping action.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone