BRENT STECKER

Top Mariners prospect Harry Ford lights up WBC qualifiers

Sep 20, 2022, 12:48 PM | Updated: 4:09 pm

Mariners Harry Ford...

Harry Ford of Great Britain reacts after a home run on Sept. 20 in Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

(Photo by Sebastian Widmann/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The season for the Modesto Nuts, the Mariners’ Single-A affiliate, may have ended over a week ago, but one of the Nuts’ best players is continuing to rake.

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Harry Ford, a catcher and the Mariners’ No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has been lighting up the World Baseball Classic qualifiers for Great Britain this week. He entered a matchup Tuesday against Spain having gone 3 for 6 with two homers, a double and three walks in his first two games of the qualifiers.

He only added to it Tuesday with his third homer in as many games, finishing 2 for 5 with three RBIs in Great Britain’s 10-9 walkoff win in 10 innings that clinched the country’s first-ever berth in the WBC.

The 2023 World Baseball Classic is set for next March. And by the way, yes, that is Ryan Rowland-Smith, the former Mariners pitcher and current analyst on M’s broadcasts (and a regular guest on Seattle Sports 710 AM programs), on the call as color commentator in the video. Rowland-Smith is on the ground in Regensburg, Germany to call games, which you can watch on the official WBC website.

Ford caught and hit leadoff in all three of Great Britain’s games, leading the team to a 14-4 win on Sept. 16 over France and an 8-1 win over Germany on Sept. 17 before Tuesday’s much more competitive matchup with Spain.

Spain’s team includes shortstop Noelvi Marte, himself a former top Mariners prospect who starred for the High-A Everett AquaSox this season before being the centerpiece of Seattle’s package to the Cincinnati Reds in the trade for ace Luis Castillo in late July. Marte also homered in Tuesday’s game.

While Ford was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of high school in the Atlanta area by the Mariners, he is able to represent Great Britain in the WBC by way of being “sneaky British,” as Mariners insider Shannon Drayer dubbed it during an interview with him on The Mariners Hot Stove last February on Seattle Sports.

“Both my parents are completely British, born and raised there,” he shared in what was a highly entertaining interview with the 19 year old.

As for Ford’s season in the minors, he posted a slash line of .274/.425/.438 for an .863 OPS in 104 games with the Nuts this year. Uniquely athletic for a catcher, he hit 11 homers, 23 doubles and four triples, and stole 23 bases on 28 attempts. Though Ford was listed as both a catcher and outfielder when the Mariners drafted him, he split his time almost evenly at catcher (54 games) and designated hitter (49 games) this year.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Ford’s estimated time of arrival in the big leagues is set for 2025 by MLB Pipeline.

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