As the third overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, much was expected by now from Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino. Due to some truly ungodly strikeout numbers however, Zunino has failed to stick with the team despite getting numerous opportunities to do so going back to 2013. It seemed the same theme would be in order for 2017 as well after Zunino was sent back down to Triple-A at the start of May when he was sitting there with a .167 average. While Zunino has always had monster power for a catcher, the struggle to even hit .200 looked like it was going to leave him as a Quad-A guy for good. Well the Mariners weren’t willing to give up on Zunino just yet and once they called him back up at the end of May, the wheels were put in motion for what became a crazy good June. In just 79 at-bats for the month, Zunino cracked 10 home runs and collected an insane 31RBI. The batting average? Try .304. Of course, Zunino went back down to a .188 July but the bigger story was that he managed to stick with the team the rest of the way. In totality, Zunino had a solid year when you break it all down. Outside of just Gary Sanchez and Salvador Perez, no catcher hit more than the 25 home runs Zunino supplied. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t look as though Zunino will ever figure out how to hit consistently as his .251 average; while on the surface pretty good considering the career norms, was one big fluke due to an insanely lucky .355 BABIP. Guys with as little speed as Zunino don’t put up BABIP’s like that and so with neutral luck, it is likely he would have been around the .200 mark yet again. Remember that any batting average that low will take the value away from any power provided. With a K/9 which was actually a career-worst last season at 36.8, Zunino is still looking like fool’s gold in terms of fantasy baseball.
2018 PROJECTION: .215 27 HR 70 RBI 57 R 1 SB