Mariners Draft Mike Zunino

I don’t bother a whole lot with the MLB Draft because I don’t know SHIT about the players coming out in the draft.  A small handful will be great, a bigger handful will get an extended look in the majors (“extended” being a vague term that could mean one month, one season, or 10 seasons as a seldom-used bench player), and the vast majority will turn out to be absolutely nothing.

It must be exhausting being a baseball talent scout.  You’re telling me there are 40 rounds of this shit???

Since I don’t know anything about anything in this realm, I don’t expect anyone to take this analysis seriously.  This is more of a personal opinion.  A gut reaction, if you will.  It is based on nothing more than what I’ve heard on the radio and what I’ve read on the Internet.

To start:  the Mariners drafted Mike Zunino.  He’s a catcher out of the University of Florida.  One thing we know about the Mariners under Jackie Z, they like going after polished college guys with their number 1 picks.

From what it sounds like, Mike Zunino is nothing special.  Doesn’t mean he’s bad, it just means that he doesn’t have that wow-factor you’d expect out of a Top 3 pick.  Of course, if he went on to make it to the Mariners in a couple years and has a productive, if middling career as a team leader, catching the bulk of our games as our team goes on to great success, I’m sure we’d take that in a Top 3 pick hands down.  But, I guess, color me concerned.

There seems to me to be all downside and not a lot of upside with this pick.  And I’m not even talking about our failure at drafting catchers in the past (though, don’t think THAT hasn’t crossed my mind; and don’t try to tell me it hasn’t crossed yours either, because this is Seattle and we rarely, if ever, learn from our mistakes).  When people make comparisons to Jason Varitek as being his best case scenario, I’m not gonna lie to you, Jason Varitek wasn’t THAT great!  But, like I said, if Zunino can somehow lead this team to a World Series title, while putting up Varitek numbers at the plate, I’ll take it.  But, if he’s going to put up Varitek numbers at the plate while the rest of this team puts up Varitek numbers at the plate, I’m going to be very upset.

One thing to take solace in is, by all accounts, this isn’t the greatest draft pool in the world.  Now, obviously, that means nothing.  In three years we could be seeing All Stars left and right from this class, but for now I’m going to take their word for it.  Whoever the baseball-equivalent of Mel Kiper is. 

Essentially, what Mike Zunino is … is the Safe Pick.  He’s not exactly the Aaron Curry of the baseball draft, but he’s the guy who makes the most sense.  The Mariners aren’t exactly burdened with a glut of catching prospects.  The Mariners aren’t exactly burdened with a glut of hitting prospects.  Had the Mariners taken another starting pitcher, there certainly would have been a segment of Mariners fans who would’ve started collecting pitchforks and torches, but I don’t think that matters.  If there was a sure-thing starting pitcher (and by “sure-thing” I mean a guy who will definitely start in the Majors – and not relieve – and a guy who will definitely sign a contract), I’m positive the Mariners would have grabbed him and not thought twice.  There’s no rule that says you can have too much pitching.  Even if all of our other high-end pitching prospects pan out and end up dominating in the Majors, this theoretical “sure thing” starting pitcher could have still been a trade chip.

Anyway, if you’re making decisions based on a vocal minority of fans, you’re not really doing your job.  I just think, in this case, there weren’t any other guys who blew you away.  And, in that sense, Zunino is the safe pick.  The Top Tier guys were drafted 1 and 2.  As far as the Second Tier guys, there were probably dozens and dozens of them.  And we, hopefully, got the best of those dozens and dozens.

I know it probably sounds like I’m down on this pick, but I’m really not.  I have no reason to be down or up, because I know next-to-nothing about this guy.

I’m just not getting my hopes up.

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