Photo: Jon Wells
Michael Accorsi Zunino
Height: 6'2" Weight: 220
Bats/Throws: Right / Right
Born: 03/25/1991 in Cape Coral, Florida
Offseason home: Gainesville, Florida
College: University of Florida
Family: Wife Alyssa
Acquired: Drafted 2012 (1st round)
MLB Debut: 06/12/2013
Free Agent after: 2020 season
After three-and-a-half years of disappointment, Mariner fans got a glimpse of what we all hope is the real Mike Zunino last season. The third-overall draft pick in 2012, Zunino was, foolishly, fast-tracked to the Majors by former GM Jack Zduriencik. With fewer than 100 minor-league games of experience, the University of Florida standout made his big-league debut in June 2013, and rather predictably was overmatched at the plate. He barely topped .200 in his rookie season and until last year that looked like it might be as good as it got—he posted averages of .199, .174, and .207 in subsequent seasons, each time striking out more than one out of every three times up to bat.
But last year things began to change. After yet another demotion to Triple-A, Zunino revamped his swing mechanics and made his way back to Seattle after three weeks with the Rainiers. In his final 95 games in '17, he hit .281 with 24 home runs, finally displaying the type of bat expected from a first-round draft pick (though he's still something of a strikeout machine). Now Zunino finally feels comfortable in the role of Major League catcher, like he belongs up here rather than is just pretending. His adjustments from his last stint in Triple-A had proven worthy and the new regime of GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais had taken much of the pressure off him. "It was reassuring," Zunino said of his attitude at the close of last season. His successes "meant everything I was doing was going in the right direction."