Morosi: Mariners’ Cal Raleigh ‘overlooked,’ has traits of 2 legendary catchers
Aug 11, 2023, 3:15 PM
(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh hit a massive 450-foot home run in the eighth inning on Wednesday, giving the M’s their first lead of the night in what wound up being a 6-1 win over the San Diego Padres.
Absolutely, positively dumped. pic.twitter.com/kHHKyCVPl6
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 10, 2023
Raleigh home runs have been more frequent of late as “Big Dumper” now has 19 homers on the year, including five in his last 12 games and eight in his last 22.
His bat heating up has played a role in the Mariners’ recent winning ways, as they have won seven games in a row and are baseball’s hottest team since the start of July.
During his weekly interview with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob, MLB Network insider Jon Morosi was asked by Dave Wyman whether Raleigh is overlooked as part of the team’s success, largely because of the work he does not just at the plate but behind it, as well, catching what’s been one of baseball’s best pitching staffs this year.
“Are we maybe not giving him enough credit as far as the awesome pitching that’s going on right now in Seattle?” Wyman asked.
“I think that’s a great point. And I would agree with you in that respect,” Morosi replied. “He’s, to me, someone that is overlooked too much by the industry.”
In the American League, the catcher who receives the most attention is Adley Rutschman of the Baltimore Orioles, a former No. 1 overall pick who was an All-Star this year. Another catcher in the AL who has been in the spotlight in 2023 is Jonah Heim of the Texas Rangers, who started the All-Star Game but is now on the injured list.
“But I think Cal is part of that conversation among the best young catchers in the sport,” Morosi said.
Raleigh’s work behind the plate reminds Morosi a lot of someone who was actually Raleigh’s favorite player growing up: Jason Varitek, who like Raleigh was a switch-hitting catcher and in fact was a Mariners prospect before his long career with the Boston Red Sox.
“I think it’s telling that the player that he idolized for so long growing up as a Red Sox fan was Jason Varitek, and that that was the player that he wanted to be like,” Morosi said. “And (Varitek), he’s always had this sort of stoic way about him. He was famous in his playing career – long before this really was in vogue – about having this massive binder of scouting reports … Just that really almost intellectual approach that Jason took to the game (stood out). I think Cal has a lot of that same approach.”
“I think Cal is a pretty easygoing personality from having talked to him in the past, but you can just tell he loves the game,” Morosi added. “And when you’ve got a catcher who can hit and also who can defend, and most importantly loves the work of preparing and wants to be in the lineup all the time, is really part of the group and is that focal point of the whole clubhouse, the heart and soul of the team.”
Morosi thinks if you polled the Mariners on who is the guy who “kind of keeps this thing stitched together every day,” Raleigh would almost certainly top the list.
“I bet you’d hear Raleigh’s name as much as you hear anybody else’s just because of the position he plays, the way that he does it, and the quiet consistency there,” Morosi said.
When talking about the way the Mariners have played of late, Morosi brought up the 2010 Worle Series champion San Francisco Giants. That Giants team was anchored by elite pitching, good defense and timely hitting. They also had a very good young catcher in Buster Posey, who may wind up in the Hall of Fame in a few years.
“I see some similar personality traits between Buster and Raleigh. And obviously Buster’s one of the greatest ever at that position, in my opinion, certainly in the modern times. But I do see a similar approach in the way that Cal carries himself. He’s of that same ilk,” Morosi said. “I mean, when you’ve got someone who I’ve just in the same two minutes talked about (them having) a little bit of Varitek and I see a little bit of Posey, these are good names be compared to. And I think that’s why for the Mariners, as maybe as disappointing as the beginning part of the season was, there was never any real panic about, ‘We’ve got to totally change this team all the way around from from position 1 through 26.’ Because when you’ve got a catcher like this who can do what he does, you tend to want to build around him and and not have to look outward for anywhere else because he’s that good and that consistent right now.”
Listen to Morosi’s full discussion with Wyman and Bob at this link or in the player near the top of this story.