by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com (5/23/2013) Even with the news Mariners catcher Jesus Montero is being demoted to the minors, prospect Mike Zunino is expected to remain with Triple-A Tacoma, according to The News Tribune. Tacoma backup catcher Jesus Sucre is being promoted to take Montero's roster spot.
Following a torrid start, Zunino has cooled off considerably for Tacoma, seeing his batting average plummet to .220. The News Tribune said Zunino is no longer seeing a steady diet of fastballs inside the strike zone and has struggled with breaking and offspeed pitches, as well elevated fastballs with two strikes. It signals Zunino isn't ready to play regularly at the major-league level yet.
Mike Zunino struggling for first time in his career
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com (5/6/2013) Mariners catcher Mike Zunino is struggling for the first time in his career in Triple-A Tacoma.
Zunino is hitting just .202/.303/.488 in 84 at-bats. He hasn't homered since April 20. Zunino made his only hit of the day count Sunday, driving in two runs on a first-inning double. He struck out in two of his last three at-bats. Strikeouts have been a bit of an issue for the 22-year-old. In 84 at-bats, he's struck out 30 times.
Zunino was expected to move quickly, and there was a chance he would reach the majors after the Super-2 cut-off date. With him struggling in Triple-A, his major-league debut might be pushed back a few weeks. He should still play a significant role on the Mariners this season.
Mike Zunino hovering around Mendoza Line
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com (5/5/2013) Mariners catcher prospect Mike Zunino's batting average continues to sink lower and lower for Triple-A Tacoma. Zunino is mired in a 6-for-38 slump (.158) in his last 10 games, dropping his season average to .200 (16 for 80) through 21 games.
Zunino, however, has a .488 slugging percentage thanks to two triples, four doubles and five home runs. He also has 26 RBI.
Mike Zunino breaks out of slump
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com (4/22/2013) After going hitless in his previous six games, Mariners catcher Mike Zunino finally broke out of his slump.
Zunino went 2 for 5 and clubbed a home run Sunday. He drove in three runs. In 13 games at Triple-A this season, Zunino is only hitting .235.
Mike Zunino working on plate discipline
by Bill Passonno | CBSSports.com (4/19/2013) Despite being mired in a five-game hitless streak -- his longest skid of the young season -- Mariners prospect Mike Zunino has maintained his strong presence in the lineup for Triple-A Tacoma. Zunino, who is 0 for 16 during his cold stretch, walked three times during his last game on Thursday and scored three runs.
The three walks are a welcome sign in the development of the 22-year-old, who is in his first season at the Triple-A level as part of his rapid rise to the majors. They also eclipsed his total from his previous 10 games combined (two). Zunino, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, also has four homers and 18 RBI in 11 total games.
Mike Zunino hitless in last four games
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com (4/18/2013) Mariners Triple-A catching prospect Mike Zunino received Wednesday night off amidst an 0-for-14 slump in his last four games.
One of the top catching prospects in baseball, Zunino started the season in grand fashion, hitting four home runs and collecting 16 RBI in his first five games.
Mike Zunino could 'handle himself' in the majors
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com (4/11/2013) Mariners catcher Mike Zunino has impressed since being selected third in last year's draft.
Zunino is on the fast track to the majors, and could receive a promotion soon. General manager Jack Zduriencik said Zunino would "handle himself" in the majors. Zunino's play will dictate how soon he makes his debut, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Based on what he's shown thus far, that opportunity could come soon.
Mike Zunino excelling at Triple-A
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com (4/9/2013) Mariners catcher Mike Zunino is off to a great start at Triple-A.
Zunino, 22, is batting .500 over his first four games. Though he was drafted last year, Zunino has torn up the minors at every level. If he can continue to prove himself at Triple-A, he could force the team to bring him up.
The Mariners could be patient with Zunino, even if it's clear he's ready for the majors. They could elect to keep him in the minors until June, which would prevent him from becoming a "Super Two" player.
Once Zunino comes up, the team will have to be creative with their current assets. With Jesus Montero catching, Justin Smoak at first and Kendrys Morales playing DH, Zunino's promotion would mean one of them has to be knocked out of the starting lineup.
Mike Zunino slugging away
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com (4/7/2013)Mike Zunino might not be on the verge of joining the Mariners' lineup, but the potential of him being an impact bat in 2013 is a strong possibility.
In case you missed it, Zunino homered for the second time in three games for Triple-A Tacoma and had five RBI Saturday. He now has one triple, two doubles and eight RBI in three games. Zunino is just posting ridiculous numbers in the minors. Through his first 47 minor-league games, the 2012 first-round pick (third overall) has 15 homers, 16 doubles and 51 RBI. He's also batting .364 with a .728 slugging percentage. That's insane.
I knew Zunino was good and has the potential to be a top-5 Fantasy catcher down the road, but his value in long-term keeper formats is certainly rising given his catcher eligibility. Heck, if you are in a deep seasonal league, then it's probably worth a rostering Zunino if you can afford a bench spot.
Zunino's in the minors working on his defense, but if Justin Smoak doesn't start living up to his potential and Zunino continues his tear, then the Mariners might not have a choice but move Kendrys Morales from DH to first base and bring Zunino to the show to give him regular at-bats.
Mike Zunino has strong Triple-A start
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com (4/5/2013) Mariners catching prospect Mike Zunino hit a home run in his first Triple-A game this season.
Zunino went 3 for 4, with a triple and a double. He scored three runs, and also drew a walk. Zunino has moved quickly after being drafted last season, and could be on the fast track to the majors depending on how he handles Triple-A.
Mike Zunino coming sooner than later
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer (3/27/2013) The hype on prospect Mike Zunino was surprisingly lacking this spring, which had me wondering if I had overstated his short-term appeal by ranking him 24th at catcher. But then I saw the Mariners were sending him, a 22-year-old entering his first full professional season, to Triple-A to begin the year.
That's more of a leap than even I was expecting. How often does a prospect of Zunino's caliber spend a full season at Triple-A? How often does one even spend half a season there?
The Mariners are entering 2013 with the defensively challenged Jesus Montero starting at catcher. They can't be comfortable with that arrangement. My guess is as soon as Kendrys Morales gets hurt or Justin Smoak flounders, Zunino is coming up to the big leagues.
Catching prospect Mike Zunino to begin in Triple-A
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com (3/27/2013) Mariners catching prospect Mike Zunino will begin the season in Triple-A. Manager Eric Wedge told WKJR that the 22-year-old would not be on the opening day roster. Though he was selected in last June’s draft, Zunino has risen quickly through the minor-league system. He’s expected to make his major-league debut at some point this year.
Mike Zunino sent to minor-league camp
by Jack Moore | CBSSports.com (3/20/2013)Mike Zunino has been returned to the Mariners' minor-league camp. The club's catcher of the future hit .227/.320/.545 with two home runs in 25 plate appearances with the major-league club in camp.
Zunino is the club's top prospect and hit an astonishing .360/.447/.689 in 44 games over three levels in 2012. He is expected to begin the season with Triple-A Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League.
Zunino making rapid progress
by Bill Passonno | CBSSports.com (3/3/2013) As one might expect, Mariners catching prospect Mike Zunino experienced some nervousness during his first taste of spring training in the major-league camp. Those jitters resulted in a sluggish start for the 21-year-old as he went hitless in his first five Cactus League games. But he could be settling into a groove after crushing a home run for his first hit Saturday as part of a 2-for-3 performance. "I was feeling good at the plate and I had some good at-bats," he told MLB.com on Sunday. "It was nice to have my first hit, and to have it be a home run was even better. Once the first one falls, everything else falls into place from there. I'm just trying to keep having a good approach."
Zunino needs to refine defense
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com (2/4/2013) MLB.com reports Mariners catcher prospect Mike Zunino, who was the third overall pick in last year's draft, is preparing for his first major-league spring training. "It's just about going out there and playing to the best of my abilities every day," Zunino said. "I'll just go in every day trying to get ready, mentally and physically, and then just take it from there." The Mariners are excited about Zunino's long-term outlook, but realize he has limited pro experience. "He's definitely well ahead of most college players who come out,'' minor league coordinator Chris Gwynn said. "Receiving wise, I think he still has stuff to learn. Offensively, he's pretty good now. But he's only had 160 to 180 at-bats in the minors. That makes me nervous, in the sense that are we really preparing him for when he gets here? He still has stuff to learn both ways, but catching is such an important position, you need to make sure he's well-seasoned before he shows up here."