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Tim Cate Learns New Ways To Attack Hitters

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Lefthander Tim Cate entered pro ball this summer with a reputation for having a wipeout curveball. So he spent much of his time at short-season Auburn and low Class A Hagerstown working on his other pitches.

"We’ve really focused on fastball command,” Cate said. "You have to learn to get outs with your fastball early on. It is different, but it’s exciting to see how good I can get if I push myself.”

A second-round pick from Connecticut, Cate had mixed results with his low-90s fastball, changeup and two-seamer. He went 2-6, 5.02 with 45 strikeouts in 52 innings while allowing 57 hits and 16 walks. Then he spent his 21st birthday in instructional league in West Palm Beach, Fla.

During his final college season, Cate had to rest his arm for seven weeks because of an injury. He still managed to set the Huskies' career strikeout record with 270 in his three years. He surpassed lefty Anthony Kay, a Mets first-round pick in 2016.

As a junior, the 6-foot Cate went 5-4, 2.91 with 67 strikeouts in 53 innings.

"He repeats his delivery well, his arm is free and easy, and he commands his fastball,” farm director Mark Scialabba said. "His curveball is his go-to pitch with late, sharp-biting downer action. He’s projectable, and he has shown aptitude and the ability to make adjustments in a short time with our coaching staff.”

After spending two summers with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, Cate enjoyed his experience this summer in the New York-Penn and South Atlantic leagues.

"It’s fun being around guys from everywhere, whether it’s college or high school or other countries,” Cate said.

Cate lettered for four years at Cheney Tech High in Manchester, Conn., and then chose his home state school over several other regional offers. He didn’t see Connecticut as an underdog, but as a frequent developer of talent. Five former Huskies, including 2017 World Series MVP George Springer, played in the big leagues this season.

"UConn has a great program,” Cate said. "I think a lot of people don’t realize how many great major leaguers have played there.”

With his college experience behind him, Cate still takes a studious approach to pitching.

"He’s hungry to learn and asks a lot of questions, which is great,” Auburn manager Jerad Head said. "He came in with that great curveball, but he knows he’ll have to be able to get hitters out in other ways.”

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