Last week, Patrick Kivlehan took the next step on his road to the Major Leagues. Kivlehan was promoted from Class A High Desert to Double-A Jackson.
So I thought we would kick off this new feature, looking at possible future Mariners, with the young prospect. That way you could familiarize yourselves a bit more with Patrick Kivlehan.
Now at first glance, you look at Kivlehan and you say to yourselves; “We already have our 3B of the future, his name is Kyle Seager.”
That may be true, but let’s look a little deeper into Kivlehan’s numbers and you’ll see why casual fans and insiders alike have plenty of reasons to be excited for his arrival.
Kivlehan went to Rutgers on a football scholarship out of West Nyack, New York. A two-sport star at St. Joseph’s of Montvale, he turned down chances to play college baseball, opting for his only Division I offer to play college football – Rutgers.
He played in 43 games as a defensive back, mostly as a backup and on special teams. Then in his junior year, he walked onto the Rutgers baseball team. Having not seen live pitching in almost four years, many questioned what kind of contributions Kivlehan could make.
No one expected what they got.
In that 2012 season, Kivlehan led Rutgers to a 31-25 record, clinching the Big East Conference title. Overall, Kivlehan batted .392 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs overall, to go with a .693 slugging percentage and .480 on-base percentage. In Big East League play, his .402 average, 10 homers and 36 RBI clinched the first league Triple Crown in Conference history.
That June, the Seattle Mariners picked Kivlehan with their 4th round (131st overall) pick.
He reported to the team’s Class A short season club in Everett. In 72 games, Kivlehan batted .301 with 12 HR and 52 RBI.
I had the good fortune of seeing Kivlehan in action that year in one of Everett’s games against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (SF Giants) in Keizer, Oregon.
In that game, both Kivlehan and Mike Zunino homered. Patrick’s was an absolute bomb! Chris Taylor was 4-for-5 in that game as well. Little did I know at the time, the possible future talent I was witnessing.
Kivlehan spent 2013 between both of Seattle’s Class A long season clubs. He combined to hit .303 with 16 homers. Prior to his call-up from Class A High Desert this season, he had 9 HR in only 34 games.
The question remains; can he adjust to better pitching as he progresses? It’s only been five games in Double-A Jackson, but he only has three hits in 16 at-bats. But all three have been in the last two games.
The other question is; what will the team do with him? The Mariners already have Kyle Seager at 3B. As much as I want Mariners fans to grow attached to Kivlehan and anticipate his arrival to the big club, the sad reality is, he may end up being nothing but trade bait.
But in the meantime, I do hope he continues to progress well so Mariners fans get a chance to see him in action, even if it’s not at third base. He could inevitably be the right-handed power bat this team has been looking for.