February 19, 2013; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Curt Casali (82) poses for a picture during photo day at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Is Curt Casali Turning Himself Into a Legitimate Prospect?

When minor league catcher Curt Casali was acquired from the Detroit Tigers to retain the rights for Kyle Lobstein, it was felt that Casali was an interesting prospect. He had put together a strong season across two levels for the Tigers, producing a .270/.365/.427 batting line with 25 doubles and nine homers. Considering the history of the Rays catchers (not good) and the state of the catching prospects in the upper minors, Casali became someone to keep an eye on.

Casali did a decent job to start the year. As the primary catcher for the Charlotte Stone Crabs, he put together a decent enough hitting line of .267/.342/.406. His doubles decreased, but Casali managed to hit five home runs in 165 at bats for the Stone Crabs. These numbers, while above the league average of .256/.325/.373, seemed that much better given the lack of catching prospects in the upper levels of the Rays system.

Then Casali was promoted to the Montgomery Biscuits. While it would make sense that a player may take a bit of time to adjust to the level of competition, Casali hit the ground on fire, going 3-3 with a run scored and an RBI in his debut on July 25th. And to this point, he has not stopped hitting, producing an incredible .452/.514/.613 batting line in his first ten games. There has only been one game when he did not at least get on base, and Casali has four multi-hit games as he starts his time with the Biscuits.

As improbable as it is that Casali continues to hit at this rate, he has certainly made quite the impression at Montgomery. Any time a player moves up a level and produces at that level off the bat, it is a notable occurrence. With the players ahead of Casali at Durham consisting of Craig Albernaz, Jesus Flores and Chris Gimenez, it may be possible that Casali earns another promotion by the end of the year. If nothing else, if he continues to show that he can handle the pitching in the Southern League, Casali could start 2014 with the Bulls.

Typically, the Rays have not had much to get excited about with their catching prospects, but Curt Casali may change that. If nothing else, Casali is likely starting to enter the conversation of prospects to keep an eye on.

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