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Photo: Jon Wells

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Mike Zunino

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

WTF, Mike Zunino?

Last year, after a time-out at Triple-A, Zunino returned to the Mariners and finally showed us he was, indeed, a Major League hitter. He played 95 games after the callup and hit .281 with 24 homers, showing us that he wasn't going to be a .199-average strikeout machine forever after all. The real Mike Zunino had finally arrived.

And then came this year, and the Real Z is once again missing while this guy struggles to stay over the Mendoza Line. And the K rate is out of sight—Zunino is striking out over 40% of the time, up from his already-too-high career mark of 34%. What, if anything, can be done? Was last season just a fluke and this actually is the "Real Z," or is there something Edgar and the coaching staff can work with him on to bring back the 2017 version?

Fortunately, Zunino does have a lot of value defensively. Not only does he handle the pitchers extremely well, he's thrown out 45% of would-be basestealers, a rate second only to Kansas City's Salvador Pérez among AL catchers with 120+ innings caught, and leads all AL receivers in a stat called Defensive Runs Saved Above Average, a formula concocted by Baseball Info Solutions. So long as he keeps the guys on the mound focused and keeps throwing out baserunners, the M's can probably put up with a lousy stick at the bottom of the lineup.

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