Rowland-Smith: What stands out with Mariners’ Cal Raleigh

Sep 16, 2023, 9:10 AM

Seattle Mariners Cal Raleigh...

Cal Raleigh of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his two run home run on Sept. 11, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Cal Raleigh etched his place into Seattle Mariners lore last September with his epic walkoff home run that clinched the team’s first playoff appearance since 2001. Even without that moment, Raleigh has been a major part of the team’s success these past two seasons.

Lefko: A rookie is why Seattle Mariners’ AL West hopes are still alive

Last year, Raleigh led all MLB catchers with 27 home runs. With 15 games left this year, Raleigh has 28 homers, which again leads all catchers and is a Mariners franchise record for a catcher in a single season.

And after slashing .211/.284/.489 (.774 OPS) last year, Raleigh enters Saturday with a .235/.313/.470 (.783 OPS) slash line.

During a Thursday visit with Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy, former MLB pitcher and current Mariners broadcaster Ryan Rowland-Smith shared what stands out about Raleigh this season.

First, Raleigh’s work behind the plate.

“When he’s behind the plate defensively, the way he can just command (pitchers) and to have the presence to take on whatever pitcher is out there — it could be a young guy, it could be a veteran,” Rowland-Smith said. “I remember a couple games ago I was watching … and you could tell (the pitcher) was starting to scuffle, is a bit caught in between … Straightaway, boom, Cal Raleigh calls time and runs out there and like boom, there it is. There it is. Now I love that. I love that because I’m a former pitcher … He can pick up those little things.”

As far as what Raleigh does at the plate, Rowland-Smith put it simply.

“Offensively, he’s one of the best offensive catchers in the game. It’s crazy,” he said. “He’s pushing on 30 home runs, and he nearly did that last year as well. It’s insane.”

Rowland-Smith also had an interesting observation regarding Raleigh’s offensive output.

“If he strikes out more, he’s a better hitter,” he said. “I know that sounds crazy, but he went into … May and June and he cut down on the strikeouts, but he wasn’t hitting the ball hard at all. Now he’s back to striking out a bit and he’s crushing home runs and he’s an impact (bat) he’s adding more value to the lineup.”

What makes Raleigh’s season and second-half run more impressive, Rowland-Smith said, is that far more has been put on his plate than was planned.

“He’s had to pick up way more work behind the plate because Tom Murphy went down,” he said. ” … He’s back there a ton and it’s fun to watch … He’s been really, really impressive.”

More on the Seattle Mariners

• How Eugenio Suárez keeps the good vibes in Mariners clubhouse
• Start times for two Seattle Mariners playoff chase games changed
• ESPN’s Jeff Passan weighs in on what Mariners’ George Kirby said
• With eyes opened, Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic makes his return
• Drayer: Seattle Mariners’ Kirby shows ‘better understanding’ after comments

Team: mariners

Bump & Stacy Show

Date Starting Pitcher
Thursday, September 28 @ 6:40 pm Rangers' Jordan Montgomery LHP vs. Mariners' Logan Gilbert RHP

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Mostly Sunny
High 59° | Low 46°
No game today.

Bump and Stacy

AEW Bryan Danielson...

Brent Stecker

At AEW WrestleDream, Bryan Danielson has his biggest match ever in Seattle

Wrestling star Bryan Danielson, a Washington native who is beloved in Seattle, talked to Seattle Sports about his huge match Sunday at AEW WrestleDream.

5 hours ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seahawks S Quandre Diggs on being one of the leaders on this defense

What does Seattle Seahawks S Quandre Diggs think this defense can accomplish this season? What is it like to be one of the leaders on this team? He joined The Huddle with Michael Bumpus, Stacy Rost and Dave Wyman to discuss that and much more. What makes this Seahawks defense different from previous versions he’s […]

7 hours ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: Bryan Danielson of AEW on returning to PNW, Seattle Seahawks, being from Aberdeen

Wrestling legend and AEW superstar Bryan Danielson sits down with Seattle Sports’ Curtis Rogers to talk about this weekend’s two big events at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, what it’s like to be back in the PNW, and even some Seattle Seahawks talk. Why is it so special for him to say he is from […]

10 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks Jamal Adams...

Stacy Rost

Rost on Seahawks: What’s a fair expectation for Jamal Adams’ return?

With Jamal Adams set to return to the Seattle Seahawks for the first time in more than a year, what can we reasonably expect from him?

11 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba...

Brandon Gustafson

Bump: Seahawks should take page from Dolphins to get JSN going

For the Seattle Seahawks to get more out of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Michael Bumpus says they should look at the NFL's top offense in Miami.

1 day ago

AEW Paul Wight...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: AEW wrestling legend Paul Wight talks big show in Seattle

Paul Wight of All Elite Wrestling joined Seattle Sports' Bump and Stacy in studio on Wednesday to discuss AEW being in town at Climate Pledge Arena for two big shows.

1 day ago

Rowland-Smith: What stands out with Mariners’ Cal Raleigh