Is Mike Zunino The Future?


As it comes down to the final weeks of the season, there are some positions for the Mariners that could use some improvement to propel this team into the playoffs.

Whether it is starting the hot Brad Miller at short stop or the struggling Mike Zunino at catcher, manger Lloyd McClendon has some options when it comes to his lineup.

As a former catcher, I know that defense is more important than hitting, but right now, Mike Zunino is more of a liability in the lineup than he is helping defensively.

Yes, Mike Zunino now has the Seattle Mariners record for most home runs as a catcher, that is great. But I can’t begin to count the amount of times he has come to the plate with a runner on third with less than two outs and he either pops up, or strikes out.

The thing is, we don’t really have a player that could replace Mike in the lineup. Yes, we have Jesus Sucre. But is he really the every day catcher you want?

Maybe I’m not giving Sucre enough credit, he is hitting .250 in 17 games, granted all but two hits are singles, but if he is getting on base, why not give him a shot? Sucre has proven that he can call a great game, block balls in the dirt, and throw base runners out.

In 117 games this year, Zunino is now batting under the mendoza line, hitting .195 with a .253 on base percentage and a .405 slugging. With 20 home runs, 52 RBIs and 18 doubles.

If we are looking at WAR (Wins Above Replacement) defensively, Sucre is better than Zunino with a .6 dWAR compared to a .3 WAR for Zunino. Offensively, Sucre has a 0 0WAR and Mike Z has a .9 oWAR.

I personally like Mike Zunino. It is not his fault that the Mariners organization rushed him into the majors. Zunino had only 623 plate appearances in the minors, nowhere near enough for your future every day catcher to learn how to hit professional pitching.

I’m not asking Mike to hit .300 with 35 homeruns every year, hell, I would be happy with him hitting .230-.240 with 25 home runs a year. If he can just cut down on his strikeouts he is going to be a great player for years to come.

Anything is an improvement then what he is doing right now. Only time will tell if Mike Zunino will turn into that player everyone is hoping he can.