The Seattle Mariners have announced that top catching prospect Mike Zunino will be sent down to minor league camp. Zunino is currently ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Mariners organization and No. 23 in the MLB, according to mlb.com.
After being drafted with the third overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft last June, Zunino quickly signed a contract and immediately started his journey to the major leagues. He made a very good first impression in the minor leagues last year, hitting for an average of .360 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI’s in only 44 games.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge gave a very positive evaluation of his young catching prospect, saying, “he carries himself with confidence but not with any complacency. You can tell already he has a great respect for the game. You can tell already he’s a student of the game.” The former MLB catcher told Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
It was unrealistic to think that Zunino would have made the MLB roster after his first spring training with the Mariners. He will most likely start his second professional season in Triple-A Tacoma, but he could possibly return to Double-A Jackson.
Jesus Montero is currently in the lineup behind the plate, but Wedge will gladly move Montero’s bat to first base or designated hitter when Zunino is ready to come up.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is in no hurry to bring up any of his top prospects, and Zunino is no exception. I would expect him to be in the major leagues before the end of the 2013 season if he continues to tear up the minor leagues like he did last year.