When discussing the “salt of the earth” or humble players on the Everett AquaSox in 2019, the conversation wouldn’t get far without Cade Marlowe’s name being uttered.
Marlowe, a 20th-round draft pick out of West Georgia (Division II), has received growing acclaim for his humility in the AquaSox’s clubhouse and his insatiable work ethic.
“Everything on the field and off the field, he holds himself to an extremely high standard,” AquaSox manager Louis Boyd said. “He works his butt off. He’s an absolute unit in the weight room. He’s just a model of work ethic. He sets the standard for his teammates, he’s a great guy in the clubhouse and he plays the game the right way and I absolutely love seeing him have continued success.”
Marlowe is seeing more and more success, perhaps not so coincidentally because his name has been featured on the lineup card more frequently. Playing time was less plentiful for Marlowe early in the season because of a logjam in the AquaSox’s outfield.
“I was just trying to take everything in and just learn everything I could from the guys that were in there,” Marlowe said. “I just absorbed everything that I could and made the most out of my time here.”
That mentality has paid dividends. After some outfield promotions throughout the Mariners’ system thinned out Everett’s outfield, Marlowe’s received more at-bats and subsequently he’s in a groove at the plate. In the second half of the season, the 22-year-old is hitting .301 with a .769 OPS (on-base-plus slugging). His 13 doubles — nine in the second half — lead the AquaSox in 2019.
Marlowe certainly took a less probable route to professional baseball. After being under-recruited out of Tiftarea Academy in Tifton, Georgia, Marlowe enrolled at West Georgia, where he played four seasons.
“I was kind of undersized coming out of high school,” Marlowe said. “I had a few offers from Division-I schools, like William & Mary, but I wanted to stay close to home.
“I think I grew up a lot (at West Georgia). Physically I got better, mentally I got better. I had good people around me, I had good teammates, good coaches. It was just a really good experience.”
Marlowe was fantastic as a junior at West Georgia in his first year of draft eligibility, hitting .366 with a .943 OPS, but perhaps his season with the Savannah Bananas summer collegiate wood-bat team after helped him get on the radar of professional scouts. Marlowe hit .309 with 34 RBI and three homers in the well-respected Coastal Plain League to enter his senior season at West Georgia on a high.
Often those four-year college players end up as “senior signs,” but the Seattle Mariners saw enough in Marlowe after he hit .389 as a senior to nab him in the 20th round of the 2019 MLB draft.
“It just taught me to work hard day in, day out and have faith in the process,” Marlowe said.
Marlowe said he was at his family’s cabin on Lake Blackshear in central Georgia when he received the call from Mariners’ director of scouting Scott Hunter that he was being taken by Seattle.
“Oh, I was ecstatic,” Marlowe said. “… Seattle was actually one of the first teams to start scouting me. I kind of had it in the back of my mind that I might be a Mariner.”
If baseball didn’t pan out for Marlowe, there’s a good chance he’d be starting medical school in the fall — he was a Pre-Med/Biology major at West Georgia and obtained a 3.87 GPA. That is Marlowe’s fall-back plan if baseball doesn’t work out.
“My dream growing up was to be a baseball player, and to also be a doctor,” Marlowe said. “Baseball came first.”
For now, he’s living his dream in the Pacific Northwest, knowing his work ethic will take him as far as it allows him to go.
“Just the opportunity that God blessed me with is awesome,” said Marlowe, a devout Baptist. “I couldn’t be happier where I’m at.”