Monday, February 25, 2013
Timetable for Zunino
By Doug Mittler
Things moved awfully quickly for Mike Zunino in 2012. He was drafted third overall by the Mariners in June, climbed all the way to Double-A by the end of the minor league season and finished up by playing in the Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars Game.
The Mariners view the 21-year-old Zunino as their catcher of the not-too-distant future and there will be plenty of temptation to accelerate the process. But Larry Stone of the Seattle Times says the M’s are “far more inclined” to have Zunino start the season in the minors and possibly call him up later in the year if he develops at his current pace.
Providing Zunino with more minor league seasoning also gives the Mariners more time to evaluate what to do with Jesus Montero. In line to be the starting catcher after the winter trade of John Jaso, Montero could end up switching positions at some point, possibly to first base or full-time DH. According to Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus, Montero is projected for an improved 2013 season after a slightly disappointing rookie campaign.
Our Keith Law has Zunino 15th on his list of top prospects:
Keith LawNo. 15: Mike Zunino
"His swing isn't entirely conventional, with a slight drift over his front side, but he keeps his weight back enough to drive the ball. His real asset at the plate is his hands, strong and quick, giving him the ability to go to all fields, and, combined with good leverage from proper hip rotation, at least average power if not better. He's an adequate receiver with an average arm and slowish release, although that last point can be improved with better coaching in pro ball. He advanced very quickly in his first pro summer, hitting well in a tiny sample in Double-A, and could debut at some point this year, giving the Mariners the long-term catcher they've lacked for years."