Caleb John Raleigh
Height: 6'3" Weight: 235 lbs.
Bats/Throws: Switch / Right
Born: 11/26/1996 in Cullowhee, North Carolina
Offseason home: Cullowhee, North Carolina
College: Florida State University
MLB Debut: 07/11/2021
Acquired: Drafted 2018 (3rd round)
Free Agent after: 2027 season
"I’m anxious." That was Cal Raleigh's assessment of himself late last season, after he'd been called up to the big leagues and played in 36 games for the Mariners. To that point he'd posted a batting line of just .156/.205/.248 with a whopping 36% strikeout rate. Anxiety is understandable—having been dubbed the Mariners' "catcher of the future" as soon as he signed a pro contract, getting promoted right into a pennant race on a team where the other catchers were struggling presented a lot of pressure. Could he live up to his hype, or would he crumble like Tweek from South Park?
It wasn't exactly Tweek, but nor was it an auspicious debut. The switch-hitter did pick things up a bit for the final two weeks of the campaign, but when you end up batting .180 you don't exactly want to show off your Topps Rookie card. Clearly he has talent—he obliterated Triple-A pitching in the first half of 2021, hitting .324/.377/.608 for Tacoma and looking very much like the player the M's drafted out of Florida State in 2018. Was it the right move to bring him up to Seattle for the second half? Time will tell, but he didn't seem to have much left to prove in the minors and it's not like Tom Murphy was hitting the cover off the ball for the M's. The experience may turn out to have been a good thing if Raleigh can learn from it and get more comfortable—and less anxious—with life in the Major Leagues.