According to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, former Florida Gators superstar Mike Zunino has been called up to the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners.
The winner of the Golden Spikes Award as college baseball’s best player was the No. 3-overall selection in the 2012 draft.
Plenty of scouts are skeptical of Seattle’s decision to rush their star prospect, but the franchise does not exactly have a choice. On the year Mariners catchers have combined to hit a measly .206 and the team has a 28-37 record as of June 10. With manager Eric Wedge’s and general manager Jack Zduriencik’s both on the hot seat, the Mariners hope that Zunino can be an offensive catalyst to help turn the season around.
That being said, Zunino spent the 2012 season dominating Single- and Double-A pitchers, but he had seemed to have hit a wall in Triple-A Tacoma. While he does have 11 home runs, his batting average of .238 leaves quite a bit to be desired.
On most other teams, Zunino would probably be given the chance to stay in the Minors and work out his hitting kinks, but the Mariners are desperate.
There is one big stat that may signal immediate success, and presumably Wedge and Zduriencik are banking on this: His home stadium in Tacoma is very much a pitcher’s park. Zunino’s OPS stands at a mere .446 at home but is 1.139 on the road.
If Zunino can carry that road success with him to the bigs, he could be Seattle’s next star, and the recent in a long line of Florida athletes to shine at the next level.
[H/T: CBS Sports]