Curt Casali Could Cement Prospect Status in AFL

By David Hill

When the Rays acquired Curt Casali from the Detroit Tigers for the ability to retain Kyle Lobstein, it really did not seem like much of a deal. Although Casali was considered an intriguing prospect, he was thought of as a defense first catcher, someone who could potentially develop into a backup major league catcher. While he did not strike out that much and drew his share of walks, Casali was typically old for his level in the minors, potentially skewing his solid offensive numbers.

At least, that was the profile on Casali before the middle of this season. Starting the year with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Casali looked like roughly the same player he had been – good strike zone knowledge, a solid ability to draw walks and a bit of power. His .267/.342/.406 batting line was essentially on par with his career averages, and did nothing to dispel the notion that Casali’s ceiling would be as a backup catcher.

Then came his callup to the Montgomery Biscuits. Casali caught fire and never cooled off, producing a .383/.483/.600 batting line with five home runs and 31 RBIs while walking 21 times against 18 strikeouts. Seemingly every game, Casali was filling up the box score, making his presence felt in almost every facet. His performance catapulted Casali from a fringe prospect to someone that may be worth keeping an eye on.

Now, Casali has a chance to increase his stock with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League. As one of the eight Rays farmhands to be playing for the Salt River Rafters, Casali could propel himself into the conversation as a potential catcher for the future. Should he continue to build upon his performance for the Biscuits, Casali could even find himself in the major league camp during Spring Training.

The Arizona Fall League can be a big proving ground for prospects around the game, but Curt Casali may find that a lot is riding on his performance. If he plays well, he could emerge as a possible answer for the Rays at catcher. Otherwise, he may just fall back as someone who is just thought of as a possible backup.