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7 days till FSU baseball: Cade Hungate looking for more command and opportunities in 2020

Hard fastball-slider combo could make Hungate a weapon out of the pen with more consistency

Haylee Blitch

Cade Hungate came to FSU as the number one third baseman in Virginia in the 2018 class, but was quickly moved to the mound with Drew Mendoza manning the hot corner and mid 90’s fastball in the tank. Despite the strength with the bat, the coaching staff felt there was more use and a higher ceiling for Hungate in the pen. During high school, the Virginia-native didn’t pitch much besides closing a few games for his high school team. When he stepped on the mound at FSU, the stuff was very raw and it showed. In just eight innings of work, Hungate walked 9 batters and posted a 7.88 ERA. With the struggle with command, he only touched the mound eight times as a freshman.

Despite the high ERA, the righty’s freshman year wasn’t all that awful. In six of his eight appearances as a freshman, Hungate gave up just one run in seven innings while walking five batters. In the other two, he gave up six runs and four walks in just one inning of work. After not throwing much in high school, he needed more time to develop and get more work on the mound before being put in high-leverage situations. In fall ball, he saw just one inning on the hill, throwing a 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout.

The sophomore possesses two above average pitches in his arsenal that led to his move to the mound. Hungate’s fastball sits in the 92-93 MPH fastball and tops out at 95 MPH. The fastball also has some sinking action to it, which led to some double plays up the middle last season. He uses a hard-biting slider off the fastball to get swing-and-misses from right-handed hitters. The slider comes in at the 85-87 MPH range. With some more consistency around the zone with the slider, it will be a deadly pitch. He’s worked on developing a third pitch to add to his arsenal this season with a changeup that sits in the 80-83 MPH range.

The floor for Hungate is the season he had last year; the ceiling is a shut down closer. If he develops a changeup, he’ll be able to get lefties out at a higher rate. If he can find the zone with the fastball and keep the slider near the zone, the walk rate will go down and the strikeout rate will go up. As one of just two true sophomore pitchers on the roster, the development of the RHP is key to FSU’s future success.

Yesterday, Nander De Sedas was rated the 20th best shortstop in the nation by D1Baseball in their fourth installment of their positional rankings.

If you missed it yesterday, the Seminoles were voted to finish second in the Atlantic division by ACC coaches.