Cal notes: M's Marlette builds momentum

High Desert catcher gaining praise for athleticism, defensive work

Tyler Marlette is batting .293 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 75 games with the Mavericks. (Larry Goren/Four Seam Images)

By Alex Espinoza / Special to | August 13, 2014 10:00 AM ET

Catchers that can hit for power and average can be tough to find, particularly in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues. The High Desert Mavericks appear to have one in the making, however, in 21-year-old Tyler Marlette.

Since Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft out of Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida, Marlette has established himself as a consistent producer at the plate while becoming the No. 13 prospect in the Mariners organization.

In 75 games with the Mavericks, Marlette is batting .293/.347/.483 with 12 homers, 40 RBIs, 24 walks and 55 strikeouts.

"I think he's going to be a hitting catcher -- we all agree with that," High Desert manager Eddie Menchaca said. "We could get a little bit more out of his defensive side because he's a good athlete, but his offensive numbers don't really surprise me. He's got such good hand-eye coordination, he could hit a ball with one hand. He's that special. He's got really good bat speed and that also helps him out a lot."

Marlette's numbers are remarkably similar to the ones he posted over the same number of games with Class A Clinton last season, where Menchaca was also his manager. There's one big exception, though. Marlette has doubled his home run total, something Menchaca said is a result of an aggressive approach at the plate.

"That just comes with playing," Menchaca said. "He's got good bat speed and hits a lot of hard line drives. Eventually I think they'll lift a little bit more, to where he could hit more home runs. Right now he's a line drive, gap-to-gap hitter, and once in a while he'll hit them out. He's that strong of a kid."

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, Marlette has also developed a reputation as being a tough catcher to steal against. He's caught 33 percent of would-be base stealers this year (32-of-98), and Menchaca said it could be even higher if some of High Desert's pitchers had faster deliveries.

Coming out of high school and entering the pro ranks as a catcher can be daunting, but Menchaca said Marlette is still improving in his fourth season of Minor League ball.

"He's gotten better. Obviously, he's still really raw," Menchaca said. "But he's gone out of his way to work on his blocking skills and try to call a good game. He's come a long way with that, but he still needs work. For sure, it's a work in progress. He's really turning some heads here, especially as he was from last year to now."

In brief

Red-hot Raben: Inland Empire first baseman Dennis Raben went on a tear for the 66ers en route to being named California League Player of the Week. Raben, 27, hit five homers in a four-day stretch while helping Inland Empire go 6-1 in back-to-back series against Rancho Cucamonga and Lake Elsinore.

Flores sidelined: The San Jose Giants' starting rotation was dealt a major blow this past week when No. 16 San Francisco prospect Kendry Flores was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. In 20 starts, the 22-year-old was 4-6 with a 4.09 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 105 2/3 innings pitched.

Cashner update: San Diego Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner threw two scoreless innings and struck out three batters for Lake Elsinore in a successful rehab start Friday night. Cashner, who has been on the disabled list since June 23 with shoulder soreness, is scheduled to start for Triple-A El Paso on Wednesday.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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