Drafted while a junior at Stetson University in Stetson, Fla. in the 35th round by the Baltimore Orioles, right-handed reliever Lindsey Caughel opted to stay for his senior year so he could finish his degree. In 2012, the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him in the 23rd round. Caughel missed the 2015 season because of a shoulder injury, then the Dodgers released him in Spring 2016. Caughel signed with the independent league Lincoln Saltdogs for the 2016 and spent last season with them. Traded to the Sioux City Explorers, the Mariners bought out his contract last November.
Was staying for your senior year an easy decision for you?
I really wanted to finish my degree and have a degree in political science and American history with a secondary education certificate.
How was your time in independent ball?
I had a wonderful time, but it was a challenge. I had my degree but wanted one more season. I told myself I worked hard on rehabbing and didn’t want that to be in vain or for no reason. I went to Venezuela for the first half last fall before the Mariners signed me. The group who manages with the Mariners used to be with the Angels, and they said they had their eye on me.
What happened to your shoulder and how was rehab?
I was rehabbing my oblique, and after throwing bullpen woke up the next day and my shoulder wasn’t right. I was in a great deal of pain. Rehabbing was really hard. For one thing, I opted to stay for my junior year, and I was 24-25 years old and rehabbing. Being in Arizona was like being in a bubble. It was challenging, but I had the support of my family and girlfriend. I wanted to quit a couple of times, but they told me to stick it out.
How would you describe your style of pitching?
I’m definitely a control guy with not much power. I have four pitches and mix it up.
What is your favorite pitch?
Strike one. I’m most comfortable with my slider.
What do you do in the off-season?
I play guitar, and it is a huge part of my life. My dad has a band with a couple of buddies, and I play with them. I also hunt and fish and play disc golf and like anything outside.
How did you get involved with playing the guitar?
I asked by my dad to teach but he wanted me to concentrate on baseball. I finally taught myself by watching YouTube videos. Playing guitar is the greatest thing I have. I think it is important to create your own identity.
What do you do on your off days?
I don’t mind being by myself, and I’ll do things outside like going to Pinnacle Mountain. I also like to research and see what there is to do in the city and went to the Clinton Library. During the all-star break when we had three days off, I went and floated the Buffalo by myself.
Besides the Big Leagues, what are your goals?
The Big Leagues is not one. I just like to play baseball because I like to compete. I want to have a successful family and live simply and peacefully. It’s interesting the internal battle of planning for the future and living for the day. I tried to shift my line of thinking the past couple of years. Most of my goals are daily goals.
What is the one piece of advice you give the younger players?
The number one thing is try and find out who you are out of baseball. It’s really easy to get caught up in a boyhood dream when you are so close. Unfortunately, a lot of guys don’t make it. You have to take care of what you can control. Working as hard as you can—that mindset has to be enough otherwise it will make you bitter and resentful.