The Tampa Bay Rays have several options at the catcher position. Perhaps their most consistent option is not even on the big-league club.
If Curt Casali was upset after spring training because he was left off the 25-man roster, the 28-year-old catcher has handled himself exactly how you would like. Through 22 games at Triple-A Durham, Casali has a .313 BA – good for 11th in the International League.
Casali is working on a 17-game hitting streak. In fact, the last time he was held hit-less was back on April 12. He would have received some consideration for International League Player of the Month had it not been for his teammate – third base prospect Patrick Leonard took home the hardware. Leonard has an active hit streak that is just one game behind Casali.
The Rays backstop has a long way to go if he is going to break Joe Wilhoit’s 60-game hit streak.
Over the last 63 minor league seasons, only one player (Francisco Mejia – 2016) has reached the 50-game mark.
Drafted but the Detroit Tigers, out of Vanderbilt, in the 10th Round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Casali was acquired by the Rays on March 25, 2013. He made his major-league debut the following season.
In 452 MLB plate appearances, the California native has a .195/.280/378 slash line. Those numbers support the Rays’ decision to send him to Durham before the season started. After the acquisition of Derek Norris, Jesus Sucre became the beneficiary of the second catcher spot.
Both Norris (.217 BA) and Sucre (.235 BA) have struggled to find consistency at the plate this season. At this point, all three options are merely a stop-gap until the return of Wilson Ramos (knee). However, if Casali is able to continue his success at Triple-A, the club will find themselves in an interesting situation.
The Durham Bulls finish up a four-game set with Columbus on Thursday. They then host the Toledo Mud Hens for a three-game weekend series. If Casali is able to keep the streak alive, it could reach 21 games before Monday’s game against Charlotte. The Knights were the last team to hold him hit-less.