Before the Mariners performed their first house playoff recreation in over twenty years on a vivid fall day this previous October, as well as to saying the beginning roster, the Mariners additionally acknowledged the coaching employees, reserves, and taxi squad. That meant that, together with acquainted faces like Perry Hill, Taylor Trammell, and Tom Murphy, a comparatively new face had a possibility to step on a big-league discipline in entrance of 45,000+ screaming followers and wave to the crowd: Mariners prospect Cade Marlowe. It’s a protracted way from the place Marlowe began his 2021 journey, as the offensive anchor of an Arkansas Travelers staff, making his way to the higher minors after only one 12 months of full-season play.
It’s an excellent longer journey from the place Marlowe entered skilled baseball, as a Twentieth-round draft choose by the Mariners in 2019 out of the University of West Georgia, a Division II faculty that performs in the Gulf South Conference. Marlowe’s faculty resume was spectacular; not simply on the discipline, however particularly in the classroom. He truly earned his diploma in 2018 in biology/pre-med, graduating magna cum laude with a 3.85 GPA, earlier than returning to faculty to pursue a psychology diploma. Unsurprisingly, Marlowe was constantly named to awards honoring scholar-athletes, like UWG’s “Mr. Wolf” award, honoring the high male scholar-athlete, in addition to receiving nationwide recognition from Google, named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District Baseball Team.
The work ethic that Marlowe introduced to his research translated onto the baseball discipline. As a senior signal from a less-prestigious convention, many prospect evaluators neglected the old-for-his-level Marlowe regardless of his observe file of success in faculty, which noticed him land himself on the profession leaderboard at UWG in most offensive classes. While demonstrating a superb really feel to hit, robust plate self-discipline, and talent to hit to all fields, Marlowe lacked over-the-fence energy, by no means hitting greater than three homers in a season.
When the Mariners popped him in the Twentieth spherical, Marlowe did not enter skilled baseball with a chip on his shoulder or any need to show he wasn’t his draft place. “I used to be simply grateful for the alternative to give you the option to play with any group, and I used to be simply joyful the Mariners gave me the shot,” Marlowe recounted from the clubhouse at T-Mobile Park, a distance each actually and figuratively very far-off from the place he discovered himself on draft day. Marlowe knew the Mariners have been excited about him main up to the draft, having conversed with former Mariners scout (now with Texas) John Wiedenbauer, however he additionally knew that issues change shortly in the draft—and hey, being a physician is not a foul back-up plan if skilled baseball would not work out.
But the Mariners did certainly name Marlowe’s identify in the Twentieth spherical, and despatched him to what was then short-season ball in Everett, a far cry from the balmy setting of Georgia. “Everett’s an incredible park to hit in for lefties,” says Marlowe. “You stand up there and see that quick wall in right-center and suppose, ‘I can hit right here.'”
But issues did not begin off easily. “I had a tough begin,” says Marlowe, then corrects “tough” to “difficult.” Marlowe opened the month of June in Everett slashing simply .229/.317/.343, and struck out 12 occasions in 35 at-bats—over double his strikeout charge in faculty, anathema for a participant who has all the time prided himself on strong strikes zone consciousness. But as the climate warmed in Everett, so too did Marlowe’s bat warmth up as he adjusted; in August, he slashed .320/.374/.466 and minimize his strikeout charge down to 21%. He would go on to end with a wRC+ of 129 that season, batting over .300, and whereas he did not put the ball over the fence in Everett’s lefty-friendly park, a lot to his chagrin, he was ready to use his pace to rack up three triples and 15 doubles (together with 10 stolen bases), for a decent ISO of .137. His .301 common was the fifth-best in the Northwest League that 12 months; his wRC+ was seventh-best. In virtually each statistical class except for slugging, Marlowe ran apace with Diamondbacks prospect Tristin English, a fellow Georgian drafted in the third spherical that 12 months. Aside from the lack of homers, nothing in Marlowe’s stat line suggests a battle—however then, one would not graduate premed magna cum laude with out having excessive expectations for oneself.
“I credit score the work and the willingness of my coaches to assist me and work with me,” says Marlowe about his turnaround. And whereas it’s totally typical of the humble Marlowe to credit score others for his success, these enhancements do not occur with out Marlowe’s psychological make-up: he holds excessive requirements for himself, but additionally would not get caught up in the curler coaster of feelings that may include being a younger professional. Some gamers study this as they ascend the rickety ladder to a big-league profession; some by no means do. For Marlowe, an understanding of the function consistency performs in a baseball participant’s profession appears baked into his diligent, stalwart persona.
That diligence would serve him effectively in 2020, when the COVID-19 lockdown introduced Marlowe an unplanned layoff in 2020. He wasn’t invited to the Mariners’ High Performance Camp (HPC) nor positioned on the alternate coaching website roster, costing a participant already considered as outdated for his stage extra treasured time. But he did not let that deter him, sticking with his program and persevering with to keep prepared for no matter 2021 would possibly convey.
2021, it will end up, introduced rather a lot. This time, the Mariners did invite Marlowe to HPC, and Marlowe seized the alternative to study from coaches at the skilled stage and centered on including energy and energy whereas sustaining his explosive pace. After spring coaching, the Mariners despatched Marlowe to A-ball, at the moment in Modesto, earlier than advancing him again to Everett, now High-A, in mid-June after he threatened low-A pitching, already doubling his house run complete from 2019 in simply 160 plate appearances. But the transfer again up to a chillier offensive setting did not dampen the fireplace in Marlowe’s bat, as a slight swing adjustment, plus his elevated muscle, unlocked the energy a part of his swing. Marlowe ended 2021 with a mixed 26 homers, having lastly conquered the lefty-friendly setting in Everett.
The Mariners rewarded Marlowe’s robust season with an invite to the Arizona Fall League in 2021, which had been a aim of his starting the 2021 season. “For them to choose me, to give me that chance to play, it was superior, an incredible expertise getting to play with guys who’re in the massive leagues now,” says Marlowe. “It meant the world to me getting to be round these guys, study from these guys and the coaches we had there, most of them had been in the massive leagues at one level or one other, or are teaching the massive leagues now.”
He particularly mentions Phillies shortstop Bryson Stott, a teammate who lit up the league, in addition to different marquee names of their organizations like Nick Gonzales or Ji-Hwan Bae. “Playing with these guys, it was an eye-opening expertise.”
While he wasn’t younger for the league age-wise, he was positively at an obstacle experience-wise, having by no means had any publicity to the excessive minors. Always keen to study, Marlowe threw himself into the expertise, whereas sustaining the consistency that is a trademark of his recreation. He by no means let the second get too massive for him, working strong at-bats. “I really feel like that is an vital a part of the recreation, to be constant, to be the identical particular person day in and time out, and I attempt my greatest to try this and every thing else falls into place.”
If that feels like a Very Mariners Prospect factor to say, it ought to. Marlowe is a proponent of the staff’s emphasis on psychological expertise and sees that as a significant contributor to his recreation. “The psychological expertise a part of it has been big for me, and studying from Adam Bernero, Andy McKay—it is an ongoing course of for the remainder of my profession, and the remainder of my life, simply having that development mindset: study one factor daily , get 1% higher daily, like the Mariners say. It simply helps every thing fall into place.”
Energized by the feeling of taking the discipline with up-and-coming stars of the recreation like Stott and feeling like he belonged, Marlowe did not decelerate in the excessive minors. This 12 months at Double-A Arkansas he recorded a 20/20 season, ending his time in Arkansas with 36 stolen bases, and earned a promotion to Triple-A Tacoma, the place he added one other three homers and 6 stolen bases earlier than being tapped to be a part of the massive membership as a member of the taxi squad. Jerry Dipoto praised Marlowe as somebody who “does just a little little bit of every thing,” citing particularly his means to contribute rather than an injured Sam Haggerty with pace and protection, however Marlowe’s batting observe in the spacious confines of T-Mobile Park, as he lasered line drives throughout the discipline, additionally opened some eyes.
For Marlowe, the expertise was career-changing. “I’m simply absorbing each little bit I can,” he says. “Being in the clubhouse is nice, the setting, the tradition. It’s onerous to put into phrases how unimaginable it is and the way grateful I’m.”
Marlowe says all his future teammates have been “actually welcoming,” particularly Taylor Trammell, who Marlowe says went out of his way to educate the rookie the ropes, on and off the discipline. Unsurprisingly, the severe and studious Marlowe connected himself to Mitch Haniger instantly, watching every thing the outfielder did with a eager eye, from taking additional BP to the research classes he put in pre-game. “That will to put together is actually vital,” he notes. “To see the guys right here and the way they try this, it is inspiring.”
Marlowe is aware of that this low season is perhaps the largest of his profession. He’s been in the big-league clubhouse and seen how big-leaguers put together for video games. He has a possibility to compete for a job in the outfield for a membership that made solely modest additions in free company. “I simply want to keep centered on the place I would like to be, which is right here.”
He’s not “right here” but, he is aware of—however the former straight-A pupil understands how to get to the place he needs to go. And whereas he is taken rather a lot from the group—being grateful for it at each step—he additionally understands that he has additionally put a big quantity again in, each in his on-field efficiency and the way he has embodied and superior what the Mariners nonetheless making an attempt to do.
“We’ve constructed a profitable tradition right here,” says Marlowe, gesturing round the clubhouse the place he stands on the eve of the Mariners’ first house playoff recreation in over twenty years, effortlessly rolling himself into the “we.”