Archive for the ‘ Draft ’ Category

Mariners Select LHP David Rollins in Rule 5 Draft

LHP David Rollins has averaged 8.6 K/9.0 IP during his minor league career (photo credit:

LHP David Rollins has averaged 8.6 K/9.0 IP during his MiLB career (photo credit:

The Mariners selected left-handed pitcher David Rollins from the Houston Astros in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft this morning to conclude the 2014 Winter Meetings held in San Diego, California.

Rollins was the 12th player selected in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

With this selection, the Mariners 40-man roster is now full (see below). Seattle did not lose any players in the Major League or Minor League phases of the Rule 5 Draft.

Rollins, turns 25 December 21, spent last season with AA Corpus Christi in the Houston Astros organization. He was 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA (33 ER, 78.0 IP) with 77 strikeouts in 27 appearances including 12 starts.

A player selected in the Rule 5 Draft must be kept on the Major League 25-man roster of the drafting team for the entirety of next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days. If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team from which he was selected.

Once a player is selected, he is automatically assigned to his new organization’s 40-man roster. Current Mariners LHP Lucas Luetge was a product of the Rule 5 Draft in December 2011 (from Milwaukee).

In parts of four minor league seasons he is 23-16 with a 3.39 ERA (135 ER, 358.2 IP) with 343 strikeouts in 88 games including 64 starts. During his minor league career, he averaged 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

Rollins was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays after being selected in the 24th round of the 2011 June Amateur Draft out of San Jacinto College, North Campus (Houston, TX). The left-hander was previously selected twice by the Mariners in the June amateur draft; in the 23rd round of the 2009 draft and in the 46th round of the 2010 draft.

Ironically, Rollins was traded by Toronto to Houston as part of a 10-player trade that saw current Mariners left-hander J.A. Happ go from Houston to the Blue Jays.

Mariners Sign OF Gareth Morgan (No. 74 overall Draft pick)

Gareth Morgan and his family with Mariners Scouting Director Tom McNamara.

Gareth Morgan and his family with Mariners Scouting Director Tom McNamara.

Welcome to the Mariners family Gareth!

Outfielder Gareth Morgan, the Mariners second selection in last week’s MLB Amateur Draft, officially signed with the Mariners this afternoon and will take batting practice with the Major League club.

Morgan, 18, is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound, right-handed hitting outfielder. He has played both right field and center field during his high school career. He is scheduled to report to the AZL Mariners in the Arizona Rookie League.

Gareth is a member of the Canadian Junior National Team, and has also played with the Langley Blaze travel team.

The teams played games against professional minor league clubs in Florida and Arizona during spring training.

Morgan and the Canadian Junior National team recently returned from playing eight games against professional teams in the Dominican Summer League.

Here are a few nice feature stories on Gareth from the Toronto Sun and Rogers SportsNet.

Mike Zunino Hits First Professional Home Run

Mike Zunino, Everett AquaSox

Yesterday was a special day for Mariners 1st round draft pick Mike Zunino. With the Everett AquaSox on the road against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Giants Short-A Affiliate) at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Oregon, Mike Zunino hit his first professional home run. It was a solo shot that came in the ninth inning off Volcanoes right-hander Armando Paniagua.

You can hear the AquaSox Pat Dillon call the action right here:

Mike Zunino records his first professional home run against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (call by Pat Dillon)

You can follow Mike Zunino and the rest of the AquaSox online at:

Here’s Mike Zunino’s first professional hit (click picture for video):

Mike Zunino records his first professional hit, a double, on July 14, 2012.

The AquaSox return home on Tuesday July 24th for a six game homestand against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and Vancouver Canadians. Tickets are available at or over the phone at 425-258-3673.

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Mike Zunino In Uniform Tonight For Everett AquaSox

Mike Zunino has joined the Everett AquaSox and will be in uniform tonight.

Since finishing his college career in the College World Series, catcher Mike Zunino, the Mariners first-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player draft, has zigzagged his way around the country accepting all the top college and amateur baseball awards and topped it off with the signing of his first professional contract with Seattle on July 3. After attending the 83rd annual MLB All-Star Game at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, Zunino is back in Washington to begin his professional career in the Mariners organization.

Zunino will be in uniform tonight with the Mariners Short-A affiliate the Everett AquaSox, but is not expected to make his professional debut in the starting lineup until Friday. After an off-day yesterday, Everett returns to action at Everett Memorial Stadium for a 5-game series vs. Tri-City tonight starting at 7:05 pm. The AquaSox currently sit atop the Northwest League West division with an 18-7 record and a 3.5 game lead over the Vancouver Canadians.

Mike Zunino Wins Golden Spikes Award

Mike Zunino, the Mariners first selection (3rd overall) in this year’s MLB Draft, has been named the winner of the 2012 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.

Zunino, who signed his first professional contract with the Mariners on Tuesday, also won this year’s Dick Howser Trophy as the premier college player, the Johnny Bench Award as the best collegiate catcher and was named the Baseball America Player of the Year. He batted .322 with 19 home runs and 67 RBIs as a junior for the University of Florida Gators.

Mike Zunino with the Golden Spikes Award (USA Baseball).

The Mariners newest prospect will attend the 83rd annual MLB All-Star Game at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium on July 10 before officially embarking on his professional career with the Everett AquaSox, Seattle’s Class A short-season affiliate in the Northwest League.

The award was announced on the MLB Network this afternoon. Zunino, along with Golden Spikes Finalists RHP Mark Appel (Stanford) and LHP Carlos Rodon (NC State) had a busy day as the trio were also guests at the MLB Fan Cave.

Here is a list of the Golden Spikes Winners through the years:

2012 Mike Zunino Florida
2011 Trevor Bauer UCLA
2010 Bryce Harper College of Southern Nevada
2009 Stephen Strasburg San Diego State
2008 Buster Posey Florida State
2007 David Price Vanderbilt
2006 Tim Lincecum Washington
2005 Alex Gordon Nebraska
2004 Jered Weaver Long Beach State
2003 Rickie Weeks Southern
2002 Khalil Greene Clemson
2001 Mark Prior Southern California
2000 Kip Bouknight South Carolina
1999 Jason Jennings Baylor
1998 Pat Burrell Miami (FL)
1997 J. D. Drew Florida State
1996 Travis Lee San Diego State
1995 Mark Kotsay Cal State Fullerton
1994 Jason Varitek Georgia Tech
1993 Darren Dreifort Wichita State
1992 Phil Nevin Cal State Fullerton
1991 Mike Kelly Arizona State
1990 Alex Fernández Miami-Dade Community College
1989 Ben McDonald LSU
1988 Robin Ventura Oklahoma State
1987 Jim Abbott Michigan
1986 Mike Loynd Florida State
1985 Will Clark Mississippi State
1984 Oddibe McDowell Arizona State
1983 Dave Magadan Alabama
1982 Augie Schmidt New Orleans
1981 Mike Fuentes Florida State
1980 Terry Francona Arizona
1979 Tim Wallach Cal State Fullerton
1978 Bob Horner Arizona State

– JE

A Few Questions With Mike Zunino

The Mariners No. 1 draft pick Mike Zunino was introduced to the media today in a news conference at Safeco Field.

Here are some video highlights from his introductory news conference:

Mike also took some time to answer fan questions as part of Twitter Tuesday. You can get a glimpse of some of the questions he answered via the hashtag #AskZunino.

We also had a chance to catch up with Mike ask him a few questions for the blog…

Any significance behind wearing #3?
Actually, it was just a number I wore growing up and I kind of stuck with it. When I got to high school, a pretty good player named Casey Coleman (who pitches for the Chicago Cubs)  wore #3 already, so I ended up taking #17. When I got to Florida, #17 was taken, so I went back to #3.

You’ve won a lot of awards lately, which one may end up on your mantle in 20-30 years?
Oh man, the Johnny Bench Award is probably the one that is most special to me because it is just for catchers. But, I like all of them. Maybe I’ll just have to get a bigger mantel.

What is the most memorable game of your college career?
There were a lot between the College World Series and all the SEC rivalries, but probably the Friday night game at LSU during my sophomore season. We were down 3-2 heading into the 9th inning and I hit a game-tying home run and we went on score a few more runs to win the game. We ended up sweeping the series, which is pretty tough to do at their stadium, and their fans gave us a standing ovation. It was unreal.

What is your favorite cereal?
Probably Captain Crunch…or maybe Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I love both.

Who is your favorite Mariner?
I would have to go with Ken Griffey Jr. I am a little young to remember his prime years, but me and all of my friends would always play his video game on Nintendo 64. We would copy his swing in the backyard. I hope I get to meet him sometime soon.

You’ve been in Seattle for a few days. What have some of your favorite sights been?
We ate dinner at the Space Needle, and that was pretty cool. I am really enjoying the weather so far. It is a nice break from all the humidity in Florida. Safeco Field is awesome, and my family said Pike Place Market was pretty cool. I hope to explore more of the city when I come back.

Do you wear a 2-piece catcher’s mask or the hockey-style mask?
I’ve always worn a 2-piece catcher’s mask. I guess I am just old-school. I’ve tried the other, but nothing feels better.

What will your first purchase be now that you are a professional baseball player?
A car, definitely a car. My fiancé and I are in a little debate whether to get a Tahoe or Expedition.

Who do you think you pattern your game after?
I would love to be compared to a guy like Yadier Molina, who is a true catch-and-throw catcher. I don’t know, maybe someone like Buster Posey. I pride myself on being an all-around baseball player.

Who is the pitcher you would like to face in the Majors?
I would love to face Jered Weaver. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to face him a few times a year as they are in the same division as Seattle. He is really good and fun to watch. It would be fun to get to catch Felix Hernandez. I am excited to watch him pitch tonight.

 Who was your favorite player growing up?
I really liked Jeff Conine when he was with the Marlins. My parents said he was the first player I got an autograph from, so maybe that is why.

Here are some additional video highlights of Zunino, including Mike accepting the Johnny Bench Award last week in Wichita:

– JE

Mike Zunino News Conference

You can watch Mike Zunino get introduced to the Seattle Media in his news conference live on at 1 p.m PT.

Mike Zunino signs his professional contract with the Mariners, with Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara (far right), his parents (Greg and Paola) and fiancé (Alyssa).

Here is the official news release and bio that will be handed out to the media this afternoon.

– JE

Zunino Named Johnny Bench Award Winner

Mike Zunino was named the 2012 Johhny Bench Award winner as the nation’s top collegiate catcher. (Gator Country photo by Tim Casey)

Mariners first round draft pick Mike Zunino has been named the recipient of the 2012 Johnny Bench Award presented annually to the top collegiate catcher.

The Johnny Bench Award is the latest honor bestowed upon Zunino, who was also named a consensus first-team All-American, the Dick Howser Trophy recipient and Baseball America’s 2012 College Player of the Year. He is also one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award that will be presented next Friday, July 6.

As a junior in 2012, Zunino won Florida’s Triple Crown, leading the team in batting average (.322), RBI (67) and homers (19). Behind the plate Zunino was a two-time member of the SEC All-Defensive Team, registering a career .994 fielding percentage, with three errors in 510 chances, and threw out 20 runners who attempted to steal on him.

– JE

Zunino Named Baseball America Player of the Year

The awards keep stacking up for Mariners first-round draft selection Mike Zunino, as he was named the 2012 Baseball America National Player of the Year today.

Zunino’s growing list of postseason awards include being named first-team ABCA/Rawlings, Baseball America, Louisville Slugger, NCBWA All-American and was the recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy as College Baseball’s Player of the Year. He is also a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Johnny Bench Award. He finished his junior season with the Florida Gators “Triple Crown” winner, leading the team in batting average (.322), RBI (67) and homers (19), and paced the club in total bases (164), doubles (28), sacrifice flies (11) and slugging percentage (.669).

Zunino joins an elite list of players that have won the prestigious Baseball America Player of the Year honor:

1981: Mike Sodders, 3b, Arizona State
1982: Jeff Ledbetter, of/lhp, Florida State
1983: Dave Magadan, 1b, Alabama
1984: Oddibe McDowell, of, Arizona State
1985: Pete Incaviglia, of, Oklahoma State
1986: Casey Close, of, Michigan
1987: Robin Ventura, 3b, Oklahoma State
1988: John Olerud, 1b/lhp, Washington State
1989: Ben McDonald, rhp, Louisiana State
1990: Mike Kelly, of, Arizona State
1991: David McCarthy, 1b, Stanford
1992: Phil Nevin, 3b, Cal State Fullerton
1993: Brooks Kieschnick, dh/rhp, Texas
1994: Jason Varitek, c, Georgia Tech
1995: Todd Helton, 1b/lhp, Tennessee
1996: Kris Benson, rhp, Clemson
1997: J.D. Drew, of, Florida State
1998: Jeff Austin, rhp, Stanford
1999: Jason Jennings, rhp, Baylor
2000: Mark Teixeira, 3b, Georgia Tech
2001: Mark Prior, rhp, Southern California
2002: Khalil Greene, ss, Clemson
2003: Rickie Weeks, 2b, Southern
2004: Jered Weaver, rhp, Long Beach State
2005: Alex Gordon, 3b, Nebraska
2006: Andrew Miller, lhp, North Carolina
2007: David Price, lhp, Vanderbilt
2008: Buster Posey, c/rhp, Florida State
2009: Stephen Strasburg, rhp, San Diego State
2010: Anthony Rendon, 3b, Rice
2011: Trevor Bauer, rhp, UCLA
2012: Mike Zunino, c, Florida

Mike Zunino was selected 3rd overall in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Mariners. He has been named the 2012 Baseball America National Player of the Year.

– JE

Follow Mike Zunino in the College World Series

Mariners fans can watch first round draft pick Mike Zunino and the Florida Gators in the College World Series starting tomorrow at 6 pm PT on ESPN. The Gators open CWS play in Omaha with two-time defending NCAA Champion South Carolina (the school that produced Justin Smoak).

Today, Zunino was chosen as the winner of the Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball’s player of the year. He heads into the College World Series batting .322 with 19 home runs and 64 RBI.

You can more closely follow Zunino and the Florida Gators on their quest for a national championship at or

Mariners first round pick Mike Zunino and the Florida Gators open College World Series play tomorrow vs. South Carolina at 6 pm PT on ESPN. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)


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