The Seattle Mariners farm system is one of the most exciting things in 2019. While the focus has been on Evan White and his 23 game hitting streak, and Kyle Lewis‘ hot June, one other prospect is getting overlooked.
That prospect is former Florida State catcher and 2018 third-round pick Cal Raleigh. After crushing the Northwest league in 2018, the Mariners jumped Raleigh straight to Modesto, skipping A-Ball West Virginia and sending him straight to High-A Modesto.
After a slow start, Raleigh has caught fire in the California League. In his past 10 games, Raleigh is hitting .364 with 6 home runs, 6 walks, and 7 strikeouts in 33 AB. Since June 7, Raleigh has raised his BA from .223 to .249 and added 28 points to his OBP.
Overall, Raleigh is slashing .249/.324/.470 with 13 home runs and 17 doubles. After what seemed to be an extended adjustment period, Raleigh has finally settled in. The 22-year-old is working his way through his first full season, so a lengthy slump shouldn’t have been a surprise.
In addition to the offensive growth, the Mariners have been pleasantly surprised by the growth of Raleigh’s defense. Coming out of school, most thought he would be an above-average bat for the position, but worried the defense wouldn’t allow him to stick at catcher.
While he is still a work in progress behind the plate, Seattle has been impressed with Raleigh’s framing and game-calling skills. Raleigh is also seen as a natural leader who works hard to get his pitchers through tough times. The arm is below-average, but Raleigh has a quick release and worked in the Mariners throwing program last off-season.
The switch-hitter should hit enough to become a big leaguer. If a move to first is necessary, the value of Raleigh takes a hit. But the growth of his defense gives him a good chance to stick and be an offense-first starting catcher.