1B/OF JOEY CURLETTA
Since acquiring Joey Curletta from the Phillies in 2017 for Pat Venditte, all the 24-year-old first baseman has done is hit. That’s not a surprise, coming from a player that was once highly rated in a stacked Los Angeles Dodgers system. Curletta, however, never progressed in the way the Dodgers had hoped, and thus was traded to Philadelphia to finish off the A.J. Ellis-Carlos Ruiz swap in 2016.
It appears now that Curletta has once again found his swing within Seattle’s Minor League ranks. After slashing .256/.343/.441 for High-A Modesto in 2017, Curletta really turned heads this past season with Double-A Arkansas. Over 129 games with the Travelers, Curletta made his presence felt with 24 homers and 94 RBIs, backed by a fantastic 135 wRC+.
Back in July, our friends at Lookout Landing wrote a great piece on Curletta’s newfound plate approach that has clearly had a significantly positive effect on his performance in his Mariners career. Looking to elevate the ball more, the power numbers have followed and Curletta has become a better gap-to-gap hitter. However, he’s still a relatively high strikeout hitter, which rarely translates well to the Major Leagues. But the power is nice and the ability to get on base consistently is even nicer.
Now entering his eighth Minor League season, Curletta has the chance to opt into free agency. For the sake of the article, though, we’ll say he doesn’t and remains with Seattle. That seems fairly likely, given that Curletta will assume a larger role by beginning his 2019 campaign as Triple-A Tacoma’s starting first baseman. With Daniel Vogelbach likely on his way out of the Mariners’ organization this offseason, Curletta path to that job has become crystal clear. While top prospect Evan White is seemingly on Curletta’s heels, the latter is currently on track to make it to the Bigs first, though that may not last for long. Still, my bet’s on seeing Curletta in the navy and teal at some point this season.