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Thursday, March 22, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: MIKE ZUNINO CATCHER SEATTLE MARINERS

I think Mike Zunino homered again.  What a night it was for the Seattle Mariners backstop as he homered three times and added a single for good measure to continue what has been a huge spring in the Cactus League.  Those numbers are now up to 5 home runs and 11 RBI for the spring as Zunino is possibly hinting that a career-year campaign could be in store.  He certainly is well protected in a massive Seattle lineup this season that added Dee Gordon to knock in and collect RBI, plus old veterans Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz still doing their home run thing.  Now 26 years old and entering into his prime, the question with Zunino from a fantasy baseball perspective is not about power/home runs but instead if he can make enough gains to get his batting average out of the gutter.  The bottom line here has always been that Zunino has tape-measure power capable of an easy 30 home runs if he gets enough at-bats.  Already Zunino has put up home runs totals of 25 and 27 the last two years and so a jump to 30 is not out of the question at all.  Instead, the average is going to determine how high in value Zunino goes in fantasy baseball 2018 and in actuality, his owers would have no problem in bottling up his .251 mark from last season and carry it over to this year if possible.  Unfortunately, Zunino's .251 average last season was fluky due to a completely unsustainable .355 BABIP and so when you take that into account, he was much more like a .220 guy or even worse.  We saw worse because Zunino makes Adam Dunn blush with his strikeouts as his 36.8 K/9 last season was beyond hideous and is in Joey Gallo territory.  So it is imperative Zunino get that even remotely under control so that he has a chance at .250 which seems to his ceiling number there given the hitting profile.  The power is immense though and at catcher, we can accept some of an average hit.  Just not too much.  In the end, Zunino's 30 homers will be plenty valuable but inroads in the average department need to be seen. 


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