Mike Zunino also in the Top 100?

PHX Terry sez,

Hey, Doc - Do you expect Zunino to crack the Top 100 Prospect Lists? If so, that would make 9 Mariner candidates for these lists.

Will defer to Gordon on 100% of the questions below AA, on 90% of them in AA, on 80% of them in AAA, and a good portion of them in the majors.  Hey G ... how many of the top 5, top 10 draft picks typically wind up in the winter top 100's?  The top 6 or 8 are usually there unless there's some good reason why not, correct?

Spec, do you have anything current that you can link us to, on Zunino?


Hmmmmm.  Seedlings to Stars last year had Gerrit Cole #15, Trevor Bauer #14, Hultzen #46, Dylan Bundy #39, Bubba Starling #52, Anthony Rendon #10 (ouch), Archie Bradley #63, Francisco Lindor #98 ... the #9 pick Javier Baez was not in S2S's top 100.

Just going off vague memory of the drafts and rankings, I'd say it would be pretty unusual for the top college hitter not to be in the top 25 or even in the top 10.  Dustin Ackley IIRC was around #20 coming out of college, and there were concerns about his size and position etc.

G can correct if I'm wrong, but I'd guess that the M's #3 slot scored them a guy who will be somewhere in the 20's.  Zunino wasn't a really glamorous college player, and he's an M, so you assume that he won't threaten the top 10.


If these guys were Yankees or Red Sox -- these guys being Hultzen, Paxton, Taijuan, Nicky ... Brad Miller, Stefen Romero, Victor Sanchez, Carter Capps ... and Mike Zunino, then Baseball America would gleefully cram them all into the top 100.  As it stands there is a 5-player rule for the Mariners, so as Hultzen / Capps / whoever are promoted, the next Mariner may join the list.

Good point Terry.  That's another blue chipper into the M's traffic jam.  Of course the reason that we have Zunino is ignoble, but we do have him.

Supposing that Zunino does turn out to be Jason Varitek, what do the M's do with Montero?  Forty games catching, one hundred DH'ing and twenty at 1B would be just peachy by me.  

You know what, there's another way to look at Zunino:  he probably will be Kenji Johjima, plus some D.  Johjima if Joh had been the most, not the least, popular player in the clubhouse.  The Mariners have never really had a catcher with plus defense who could hit 6th and deal the poker games in the clubhouse.  It would be a first, a first since 1977 that is, a championship catcher who could hit some.

Zduriencik said he took "the best player available to them," meaning that he wanted one (or both) of the two high schoolers, but with Zunino we're probably going to see the reason that people preach "Best Athlete Available."  If there was only one 4.0-WAR player on your board, you'll be awfully glad that you added him to your roster.


=== Dumb Question, Dept. ===

So who do we get NEXT draft?  :-P




I think there's the perception that a lot of his value will come from "intangibles" and the like.  So there could be a lot of variation.  Some will value that he'll be perceived as an advanced college guy (unlike, say, Starling), but he's also not perceived as a monster talent (unlike, say, Starling).
I'd guess he'll be in most Top 100, but in the lower 50, partially since most considered 2012 to be a "weak" draft at the top.


2009 was a weak class of college hitters. There was the college hitter of the decade (Dustin Ackley at #2) a pretty-good catcher who should climb the ranks swiftly (Tony Sanchez at #4) and then...nothin' else in the top 12.
Ackley started the next year as the #11 prospect per BA, and Sanchez was pretty far down at #79. But if you have a glove AND a bat, you'll be in the minor league top-100 as a top-10 pick for sure.
For anybody worried about Zunino being a Sanchez who can't get his act together and is still looking for power in the minors...
Sanchez, before BBCOR bats:
Sophomore - .313/.394/.517, 13 BB / 45K
Junior - .346/.445/.614, 30 BB / 40 K
Zunino, after BBCOR bats:
Sophomore: .371/.442/.674, 32 BB / 52 K
Junior: .322/.394/.669, 31 BB / 47 K
He outhit Sanchez significantly with power-reducing bats - basically Sanchez took aluminum to the Cape Cod league, Zunino played with wood, and Zunino was the better hitter. So although the alarmist in me wants to scream and rant about high-draftpick catcher concerns, Zunino's a far better bet than Sanchez.
And he's won every college hitter and positional award there is. He's as decorated in his last season as Ackley was; moreso, since he actually won the Golden Spikes for best college player that Ackley was a finalist for twice but never got (lost to Posey and Strasburg).
If Zunino's not top-30 I'll be surprised. Like you said, he's looking like a Johjima sort. My comp has been Charles Johnson, multiple All-Star, several Gold gloves, 15-20 HR power, etc.
I think Mike's Ks are more likely to go the way of Johnson than Johjima, but that's a good catcher to have. And the upside of that profile is what, Gary freakin' Carter?
I don't see him getting there, but there might be a speck of Clement in my eye. Zunino's incredibly decorated, a team leader and proud handler of the staff. If he's "just" Charles Johnson he's a good get as a 2 WAR catcher.
Assuming there's some place for Montero where he can actually hit productively.


If he keeps throwing like he is. Appel will be back in the draft since he turned down the Pirates and their 3.8 mill offer (which was basically all they could offer without penalties and loss of picks).
I think RHP Whitson will be on our radar since we like to go back to the well, and he's a Florida guy. We've gone with Virginia and NC for multiple picks, in multiple years, so I could see scouting and drafting Zunino also serving as early scouting on Whitson.
HS catchers are high on the list of prospects, but I assume we're out of the catcher market for the moment. But Colin Moran could go high, especially with a bit of pop in the bat at 3rd, and we drafted his brother. So another back-to-the-well possibility.
Nobody really lights my fire yet, but we should get another good player.
At some point all these good players are gonna actually get us out of the basement, right?


Walker is #6: " It's hard to see him ending up anything worse than a top-30 starter in the league, with top 10-15 upside."
Hultzen is #24, and he'd be higher if his expected control was there currently.
Franklin is #40, would be "a real asset" at second though Law thinks he can handle short.
Zunino is #41. Has "good enough" defensive skills.
So there you have it. Right now, Zunino's a top-50 player for at least one pundit.
And we've got 4 in the top 50 without mentioning Miller (defense and HD might lower his score), Morban (injuries and no walks are the culprit here because he's tearing apart the Cal League as one of its youngest hitters), Romero (see Doc's ultra-detailed scouting reports), or Paxton (control and knee injury slowing him down).
Our whole top 20 or so, including guys like Timmy Lopes and injury recovery projects like Ji-Man Choi to baby pitchers like Sanchez, is very interesting. Have I mentioned we have a handful of really interesting relievers who tend to show up later on those lists but can still have a significant impact?
Farm stocking is proceeding apace. Big league winning has to follow at some point...

glmuskie's picture

30 teams in baseball, so you'd hope to have a couple in the top 50 - having 4 then indicates your team's ahead of the others. Hasn't felt that way lately, with the Angels steadily bringing up all-star players and the Rangers having Mariner killers pop up seemingly out of nowhere.
It definitely looks like if the M's can figure out some way to get good, they can stay good for a while with the talent coming up.

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