It was tea time for the face of British baseball in the Minors last week.
Harry Ford balled out over five games for High-A Everett en route to being named the Minor League Player of the Week in the Northwest League for the first time this season. The top Mariners prospect posted an astounding .412/.583/.882 slash line with three RBIs and six runs scored while notching a pair of multihit efforts.
Ford, who earned PoTW honors twice last year, has struggled with consistency over 93 games this season with the AquaSox, but MLB.com's No. 24 overall prospect appears to have found his footing of late. The 20-year-old is riding a four-game hitting streak in which he is 7-for-14 with a home run, a triple and a pair of doubles. He also worked five walks last week and stole his 18th base of the year.
The No. 12 overall Draft pick of the Mariners in 2021 made a splash on the global stage with a standout performance for team Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic this spring. Ford, who served as GB's starting catcher in the tournament, went 4-for-13 with a pair of dramatic home runs, a double, four RBIs and a pair of walks in four games. His heroics quickly earned him the "face of British baseball" moniker.
But his personal highlight from the tournament didn't show up on the stat sheet. It was meeting his childhood hero, Freddie Freeman, who suited up for team Canada.
"He said what’s up to me when he came up to the plate and that was the craziest thing for me," Ford told Ryan Dempster, Kevin Millar and Siera Santos on MLB Network's Intentional Talk. "I was kind of star-struck, I’m not gonna lie. I got his autograph when I was a kid. When I was like 8."
The backstop was also asked by Dempster about the impact that attending two-time MLB All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winning catcher Charles Johnson's catching academy had on his development.
"It was the first time I had the chance to be around guys who played in The Show and a catcher like him and I kind of realized that I have some talent and the ability," Ford said. "I just had to work hard for it and listen and do the drills that they taught us. So, it was cool getting to learn from him and also just learn from the other guys who were at that camp as well."
Ford is slashing .249/.411/.409 with 11 home runs, four triples, 14 doubles, 47 RBIs, 68 runs scored and 82 walks over 93 games with Everett this season. After a sluggish start to his first full season last year with Single-A Modesto, the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder recovered to post a .942 OPS from June 1 through the end of 2022.
Ford has shown an ability to drive the ball to all fields, exhibiting excellent pitch-recognition traits and very solid barrel rates, especially for his position. He's also not just fast for a catcher; Ford has plus speed and his athleticism is a huge plus on both sides of the ball -- earning him comparisons to Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. His strong arm and blocking skills point to a long-term future behind the plate, especially if he can continue to refine his framing skills.