By Carey Phillips
Former Smoky Mountain baseball star Cal Raleigh has taken another step in his quest to reach the Major Leagues.
Raleigh, Seattle’s third-round draft pick last year out of Florida State, has been promoted to the Mariners’ Class AA affiliate, the Arkansas Travelers.
“I’m really excited to move up and get closer to my dream of playing in the bigs,” Raleigh said. “It’s a great feeling to get moved up and go further on.”
Raleigh, a switch-hitting catcher, had been with the Modesto Nuts of the High Class A California League. Since playing in that league’s all-star game, he has been on a home run tear. In his last 30 games, he had 15 homers and 36 RBIs. His 22 homers not only top the California League but also lead the entire Mariners’ system.
“I had a lot of fun so far this year in Modesto and am looking forward to playing in Arkansas,” Raleigh said. “The last few weeks have been a lot of fun and a little crazy with all the home runs. Home runs come in bunches, and it’s been a fun ride for sure.”
“It’s insane,” Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto said of Raleigh’s hot streak in an article in the Seattle Times. “You can’t be hotter than he is right now, but it was a lot of the other things that pushed us to the point to where we were ready to move him up. The quality of his defense, his game-calling, his leadership and the 22 homers, it’s really notable. All players are deserving, but it’s always good to move players when they are confident and performing well and Cal fits that bill.”
Based in North Little Rock, the Travelers play in the Texas League.