BROCK AND SALK

How Mariners’ Cal Raleigh impresses former MLB catcher

May 6, 2024, 11:23 AM | Updated: May 7, 2024, 8:15 am

Seattle Mariners Cal Raleigh Arizona 2024...

Cal Raleigh of the Seattle Mariners talks with George Kirby on the mound on April 27. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

During the Seattle Mariners’ streak of six consecutive series wins, the pitching staff has deservedly received most of the attention.

Mariners Breakdown: Pitching Ninja on ‘absolute legendary stretch’

Seattle’s pitching has been on an otherworldly tear, posting an MLB-best 1.74 ERA since April 15. Up until Sunday, Mariners starters had allowed two earned runs or fewer in 21 consecutive starts, which was tied for the second-longest streak in MLB history.

How much credit should catcher Cal Raleigh get for the pitching staff’s dominant run?

FOX MLB analyst and former longtime major league catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who was on the national TV broadcast for the Mariners’ game Saturday against the Houston Astros, was asked about Raleigh’s impact during a conversation Monday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“He deserves a ton of credit,” Pierzynski said. “He’s in the meetings, he’s doing his work. You can tell that when we talked to (Mariners manager) Scott Servais on Saturday, he gave him a ton of credit. … I mean, he’s done a great job for a few years now, squatting back there. He’s really smart. He knows what pitches to call. And the most important part? He knows his pitchers. That’s the biggest thing. You’ve got to know your pitchers in order to be a good catcher.”

In addition to his presence behind the plate, the 27-year-old Raleigh continues to be one of the best power-hitting catchers in the league.

Raleigh led all MLB catchers in home runs each of the past two seasons with 27 in 2022 and 30 in 2023. He is batting just .210 this season but already has eight homers in 30 games, which is tied with Kansas City’s Salvador Perez for the most homers among all MLB catchers. The switch-hitting Raleigh homered in back-to-back games against the Astros this weekend, including a tie-breaking solo shot in the top of the ninth inning that gave Seattle a 5-4 win on Sunday.

Raleigh also has thrown out seven of 19 attempted base stealers this season and ranks fourth among all qualified catchers with 3.7 defensive runs above average, according to Fangraphs.

Pierzynski was asked where he would rank Raleigh in the league’s hierarchy of catchers.

“He’s probably top five-ish,” Pierzynski said. “If his batting average and his on-base was a little bit better, he’d probably be up the ranks a little bit. But you can’t look away from the 30-plus home runs. You can’t look away from what he does with that staff. And he throws better, I think, than he gets credit for. … He’s definitely in the top-five discussion, for sure.”

Listen to the full conversation with A.J. Pierzynski from Monday’s Brock and Salk in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More on the Seattle Mariners

• Drayer: Mariners’ 3B platoon has taken off, and earned more action
• Mariners Updates: What’s going on with George Kirby’s knee?
• MLB, Nike announce changes to 2025 uniforms
• Morosi: The hitter Mariners need to step up most
• Blowers on Seattle Mariners’ recent pitching: ‘Never seen anything like it’

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