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.
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
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.
Right-handed pitcher Edwin Diaz and left-handed pitcher Tyler Pike signed on the dotted line today to officially become a Seattle Mariner. The Mariners have now signed 27 of the team’s first 30 picks, including 9 players in the first 10 rounds of the draft. Overall the Mariners have agreed to terms with 29 of the 41 players selected in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Diaz, 18, out of Caguas Military Academy in Caguas, Puerto Rico was the Mariners third-round (98th overall) selection. He was rated as the 75th prospect by Baseball America heading into the draft, including the 4th-ranked prospect out of Puerto Rico. His cousin, Jose Melendez, pitched in the big leagues for parts of five seasons in the 1990s for Seattle (1990), San Diego (1991-92) and Boston (1993-94).
Pike, 18, went 8-2 with a 0.51 ERA (6 ER, 82.0 IP) while striking out 134 batters in 82.0 innings during his senior season at Winter Haven (FL) High School. He also batted .360 (36×100) with 20 runs scored, 12 extra-base hits and 21 RBI as an outfielder. He was the Mariners third-round supplemental selection (126th overall).
Both Diaz and Pike will report to the Mariners Rookie affiliate in the Arizona League. Before Diaz and Pike head south to the Mariners Player Development complex in Peoria, Ariz., we caught up with them in the dugout at Safeco Field to ask some hard-hitting questions:
Short-A Everett will begin action on Friday, June 15 at Tri-City. Rookie Pulaski Mariners season gets under way on Tuesday, June 19 vs. Burlington, while Rookie Peoria Mariners begin play on Wednesday, June 20 vs. the AZL Padres.
The Mariners first round selection catcher Mike Zunino from the University of Florida is currently playing in the College World Series. The Gators, the No. 1 overall seed, begin play on Saturday vs. the University of South Carolina.
Seattle selected 41 players in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, highlighted by their first pick, catcher Mike Zunino, who was the 3rd overall pick in the draft. The Mariners selected 20 pitchers, including 6 left-handers, 3 catchers, 13 infielders (3 1B, 3 2B, 1 3B, 6 SS), and 5 outfielders. Seattle selected 26 college players and 15 high school players.
Seattle has until Friday, July 13 at 2 p.m. (PT) to sign players selected in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. Here is a list of the Mariners 2012 draft pick signings and where they will start their professional careers:
INF Patrick Kivlehan (4th)
INF Chris Taylor (5th)
INF Taylor Ard (7th)
INF Jamodrick McGruder (9th)
RHP Grady Wood (10th)
OF Michael Faulkner (12th)
RHP Blake Hauser (13th)
RHP Dominic Leone (16th)
LHP Steven Ewing (20th)
LHP Scott DeCecco (21st)
RHP Matt Vedo (24th)
RHP Mark Bordonaro (25th)
INF Brock Hebert (14th)
OF Dario Pizzano (15th)
OF Jabari Henry (18th)
LHP Nate Koneski (19th)
RHP Levi Dean (23rd)
LHP Blake Holovach (27th)
RHP Matt Brazis (28th)
C Toby Demello (29th)
INF Joe DeCarlo (2nd)
RHP Edwin Diaz (3rd)
LHP Tyler Pike (3rd-A)
INF Tim Lopes (6th)
INF Kristian Brito (11th)
INF Gabrial Franca (22nd)
RHP Aaron Brooks (26th)
LHP Rusty Shellhorn (31st)
INF Richard Palase (32nd)
RHP Aaron Brooks (26th)
Mariners first round draft pick Mike Zunino, a catcher at University of Florida, is participating in the NCAA Baseball Super Regionals this weekend.
Florida plays NC State Saturday, June 9 at 11am PDT and again on Sunday, June 10 at 10am PDT. If you are looking to watch the Mariners draft pick, the games will be available on ESPN3 and ESPNU.
Here’s a link to the ESPN SEC TV listings for the Super Regionals (TV listings).
Zunino, a two-time All-American, is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, the Dick Howser Trophy and the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top catcher. He heads into the Super Regionals batting .316 and leads the Gators in doubles (27), home runs (18), RBIs (60) and slugging percentage (.667). The All-SEC first-team catcher ranks No. 2 nationally in doubles (44), No. 5 in home runs and sacrifice flies (9), No. 10 in total bases (154) and No. 13 in slugging percentage (.667).
Sunday’s game (10 am PT) will surely be a game to keep your eye on, as two of the three Golden Spikes finalists will be playing against each other. Zunino will go against NC State left-handed starter Carlos Rodon (9-0, 1.61 ERA).
**Mariners select 41 players combined in three days of 2012 MLB First-Year Draft **
Seattle Mariners selected 41 players in the 2012 Major League Baseball’s First-Year player draft, highlighted by their first pick, catcher Mike Zunino, who was the 3rd overall pick in the draft.
“Overall, we’re very pleased with the athleticism, talent level and character of the players we drafted,” McNamara said. “Our scouts did an excellent job traveling all over the country finding the top talent at both the high school and college levels. We look forward to getting many of these young men signed and in uniform.”
The Mariners selected 20 pitchers, including 6 left-handers, 3 catchers, 13 infielders (3 1B, 3 2B, 1 3B, 6 SS), and 5 outfielders. Seattle selected 26 college players and 15 high school players.
In all Seattle selected players from 17 states: Alabama, California (7), Connecticut (2), Florida (6), Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts (3), New Jersey, New York (2), Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas (2), Virginia (2), and Washington (5); 2 countries & one U.S. territory: United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The Mariners drafted 3 catchers, 13 infielders (3 1B, 3 2B, 1 3B, 6 SS), and 5 outfielders. Seattle selected catcher Mike Zunino from the University of Florida (3rd overall) with their first pick the 2012 draft. Of the 21 position players selected, 6 are left-handed hitters and 1 is a switch-hitter. In the first 19 selections of the draft, Seattle selected 14 position players, including 9 infielders.
Seattle selected 20 pitchers in the draft, including 15 of their final 22 picks. The Mariners selected 14 right-handed pitchers and 6 left-handed pitchers. RHP Edwin Diaz (3rd round) from Caguas Military Academy in Puerto Rico was the first high school pitcher selected by the Mariners, while right-handed pitcher Grady Wood (10th round) from Western Oregon State was the first college pitcher drafted by Seattle. In all, 13 of the 20 pitchers selected by Seattle were college pitchers.
With the 30th-round selection the Mariners drafted outfielder Mike Yastrzemski out of Vanderbilt University. Yastrzemski, who is from Andover, MA, is the grandson of Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer, Carl Yastrzemski. He hit .286 (67×234) with 46 runs scored, 11 doubles, 6 home runs and 41 RBI in 63 games during his junior season for the Commodores. He was originally selected in the 36th round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.
“Mike is a player we have seen since high school and has improved each year,” McNamara said. “Obviously he had good bloodlines and showed us this year that he deserved to be drafted. He is not Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson he is Mike Yastrzemski.”
The Mariners selected five players with ties to Washington State in the 2012 June draft: INF Taylor Ard from Washington State University, RHP Levi Dean from Tennessee Wesleyan College, RHP Aaron Brooks from Edmonds Community College, LHP Rusty Shellhorn from Texas Tech University and C Alex Ross from Bellevue Community College. Ard was the Mariners 7th-round selection out of the Washington State University. The native of Vancouver, WA, was named to the 2012 All-Pac-12 Conference Baseball team after batting .332 (73×22) with 41 runs scored, 16 doubles, 1 triple, 12 home runs and 50 RBI in junior season. Ard is the first WSU player selected by the Mariners since Aaron Trolia in the 22nd round of the 2004 June draft. He also attended Mt. Hood Community College from 2009-10. Dean, who graduated from W.F. West High School in Centralia, WA in 2008, went 5-4 with 1 save and a 4.83 ERA in 18 games with during his senior season at Tennessee Wesleyan College. He also played two seasons at Lower Columbia College and his junior season at the University of Tennessee. Brooks is 7-3 with a 2.71 ERA (23 ER, 67.1 IP) and 60 strikeouts in 12 games (11 starts) during his sophomore season at Edmonds Community College. After graduating from Mount Lake Terrace High School in 2010, he played one season at Gonzaga (2011) before transferring to Edmonds Community College this season. Shellhorn graduated from Central Valley High School (Spokane, WA) in 2008. He attended Washington State University in 2009-10, before transferring to Texas Tech and sitting out a season in 2011. Shellhorn is 5-3 with a 4.98 ERA (31 ER, 56.0 IP) in 16 games (9 starts) for the Red Raiders in 2012. In his second season with the Bulldogs, Ross hit .250 (24×96) with 14 runs scored, 4 doubles and 7 RBI in 28 games. Ross graduated from Lake Washington High School in 2009.
“There was a lot of talent from the Northwest this year, McNamara said. “All of these players can play. We saw a lot of players with ability and look forward to seeing them play for their home town team in the future.”
The Mariners selected 15 players (rounds 2-15) on Tuesday afternoon. Seattle’s only pick in the draft on Monday was catcher Mike Zunino (3rd overall). Named a first-team Louisville Slugger All-American on Thursday by Collegiate Baseball, Zunino is a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, the Dick Howser Trophy and the Golden Spikes Award. He was also the 2011 SEC Player of the Year and a 2012 first-team All-SEC selection.
“Mike is a sturdy, blue-collar, talented defensive receiver with extra-base offensive potential,” McNamara said. “He is a winning player, and will be a good fit with the Mariners. We look forward to having him in our organization and working his way towards being part of our Major League club in the future.”
A two-time first-team All-SEC recipient and two-time member of the league’s All-Defensive Team, he has registered a .993 fielding percentage, with three errors in 452 chances, and has thrown out almost a third of the runners who have attempted to steal on him (45 of 144). Zunino, 21, led the University of Florida in nearly every offensive category. After a 3-game sweep in the NCAA Gainesville Regional over the weekend, he is batting .316 (73×231) with 27 doubles, 18 home runs and 60 RBI in 62 games. He has started 58 of his team’s 63 games at catcher, and recorded an additional 4 starts as the designated hitter. He was named to the Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team, and has hit seven career post-season home runs.
“We’ve watched him for three years,” McNamara said. “He’s steady. He doesn’t jump out and wow you like some other players. But what you get at the end of the day is a steady, hard-nosed, tough kid who’s got power and can really catch.”
Here is a look at the Mariners 41 selections in the 2012 draft:
|1||Mike Zunino||C||R-R||6-1||220||21||University of Florida|
|2||Joe DeCarlo||SS||R-R||5-10||205||18||Garnet Valley HS|
|3||Edwin Diaz||RHP||R-R||6-2||160||18||Caguas Military Acad.|
|3A||Tyler Pike||LHP||L-L||6-0||180||18||Winter Haven HS|
|5||Chris Taylor||SS||R-R||6-0||170||22||University of Virginia|
|6||Timmy Lopes||SS||R-R||5-11||180||17||Edison HS|
|7||Taylor Ard||1B||R-R||6-1||235||22||Washington State Univ.|
|8||N. Halamandaris||1B||L-L||6-2||220||18||R.L. Stevenson HS|
|9||J. McGruder||2B||L-R||5-8||175||20||Texas Tech University|
|10||Grady Wood||RHP||R-R||6-1||195||22||Western Oregon State|
|11||Kristian Brito||1B||R-R||6-5||240||17||Ramon Q. Medina|
|12||Michael Faulkner||CF||L-L||5-9||165||20||Arkansas State Univ.|
|13||Jonathan Hauser||RHP||R-R||6-2||180||21||Virginia Commonwealth|
|14||Brock Hebert||2B||R-R||5-9||170||21||Southeastern Louisiana|
|15||Dario Pizzano||RF||L-R||5-9||200||21||Columbia University|
|16||Dominic Leone||RHP||R-R||5-11||195||20||Clemson University|
|17||Isaiah Yates||RF||R-L||5-9||185||17||Clovis East High School|
|18||Jabari Henry||RF||R-R||6-1||200||21||Florida International U.|
|19||Nate Koneski||LHP||R-L||6-0||185||22||College of Holy Cross|
|20||Steven Ewing||LHP||L-L||6-1||219||20||University of Miami|
|21||Scott DeCecco||LHP||R-L||6-0||180||21||Univ. of South Carolina|
|22||Gabrial Franca||SS||R-R||5-11||160||18||John W. North HS|
|23||Levi Dean||RHP||R-R||6-4||225||22||Tennessee Wesleyan C.|
|24||Matt Vedo||RHP||R-R||6-3||205||22||UC Santa Barbara|
|25||Mark Bordonaro||RHP||L-R||6-0||170||21||Fairfield University|
|26||Aaron Brooks||RHP||R-R||6-6||210||20||Edmonds CC|
|27||Blake Holovach||LHP||L-L||6-5||195||21||University of Missouri|
|28||Matt Brazis||RHP||R-R||6-3||200||22||Boston College|
|29||Toby Demello||C||R-R||6-1||241||22||St. Mary’s College of CA|
|30||Mike Yastrzemski||RF||L-L||6-0||180||21||Vanderbilt University|
|31||Rusty Shellhorn||LHP||L-L||5-10||185||22||Texas Tech University|
|32||Richard Palase||2B||R-R||5-11||195||21||Lynchburg College|
|33||Logan Seifrit||RHP||R-R||5-11||185||17||Vauxhall High School|
|34||Alex Ross||C||L-R||6-1||190||21||Bellevue CC|
|35||Tyler Krieger||SS||S-R||6-1||165||18||Northview High School|
|36||A. Wingenter||RHP||R-R||6-7||190||18||Bob Jones High School|
|37||Brett Lilek||RHP||R-R||6-4||185||18||Marian Catholic HS|
|38||Richard Martin||SS||R-R||5-10||174||17||Bloomingdale Sr. HS|
|39||Grayson Long||RHP||R-R||6-5||200||18||Barbers Hill High School|
|40||James Kaprielian||RHP||R-R||6-3||190||18||Beckman High School|
Ways to Follow the MLB Draft:
Although not as exciting as the first round, MLB’s First Year Player Draft continues today and tomorrow.
We’ll have an update later this afternoon with all of the Mariners picks. So far, the Mariners have selected Joe DeCarlo, a shortstop from Garnet Valley High School in Glen Mills, PA; Edwin Diaz, a RHP from Caguas Military Academy in Puerto Rico; Tyler Pike, LHP from Winter Haven High School in Winter Haven, FL; Patrick Kivlehan, third baseman from Rutgers; and Chris Taylor, another shortstop from University of Virginia.
We also learned today that the Mariners #1 pick yesterday, Florida catcher Mike Zunino, was named one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award that honors the nation’s top amateur baseball player. The other two finalists are RHP Mark Appel (No. 8 overall, Pittsburgh Pirates), and Carlos Rodon, a freshman left-handed pitcher out of North Carolina State.
Ways to Follow the MLB Draft:
With former Mariners outfielder Mike Cameron and Northeast Area Scout Brian Nichols representing the Mariners from MLB Network’s Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey, the rest of Mariners Baseball Operations and Scouting departments are hunkered down in Seattle going over scouting reports and finalizing the Mariners first round selection in the 2012 June Draft. Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik and Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara and their staffs have spent the last six months traveling all over the country watching hundreds of games and individual players to determine the next 41 players that will be part of the Mariners organization.
The Ellis Pavilion at Safeco Field is transformed every year into the Mariners “war room” two weeks before the draft begins. It’s the place where the future takes center stage. Over 30 members of the Baseball Operations and Scouting departments fill the room. With only a break for lunch, McNamara and his staff have been pouring over scouting reports and finalizing the draft order for hundreds of players.
The draft boards are posted around the room with approximately 500 names that are broken down into regions, positions and ability levels. There is a list for right-handed and left-handed pitchers, catchers, first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, shortstops, left fielders, center fielders and right fielders. Below each position player is the ranking Outstanding, Above Average, Average, and Below Average. Each name is code-colored. Players are also categorized as high school, college, junior college or a fifth-year college player.
The selection order of the First-Year Player Draft was determined by the reverse order of finish at the close of the previous championship season. For the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, compensation picks have been assigned to Clubs whose Type A or Type B free agents signed with other Clubs and/or to Clubs that did not sign a player who was chosen in the first three rounds of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Per the new Basic Agreement, the Draft will have 40 rounds, instead of 50. A Club may pass on its selection in any round and not forfeit its right to participate in other rounds.
As the start of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft approaches, the Mariners staff settles in for the fast-paced draft that will consume the next three days. The Mariners have only one pick, the 3rd overall selection, on day one of the draft which consists of the first round and first round supplemental portion of the draft (first 60 picks). All 30 Major League teams are connected by conference call and once all teams are dialed in Commissioner Bud Selig begins the draft.
It may look calm and quiet now, but soon phones will be ringing, folks will be congratulating each other and handshakes will be distributed throughout for a job well done this season.
After the Mariners make their selection today, both Zduriencik and McNamara start making the rounds of media interviews. Their evenings are planned with radio interviews with both local and national shows, as well as meeting with the local beat writers and one-one interviews with local televisions stations. The Mariners media’s “war room” is located in the Main Interview Room at Safeco Field. The interview room as been transformed in to a media workroom with tables set up for writers to blog, Tweet and write their draft day stories. By the end of the day we will know everything and more about the Mariners first round selection.
Once the first 60 picks are made on Monday the Mariners staff will continue work through the night to determine their plan of action with updated draft boards and player availability for the next two days. The Draft will resume at 9:00 a.m. (PDT) on both Tuesday, June 5th and Wednesday, June 6th via conference call from MLB headquarters in New York City. Tuesday, June 5th will cover rounds two through 15, and Wednesday, June 6th will cover rounds 16 through 40. The intervals between selections will last five minutes during the first round and one minute during the compensation round. Rounds two through 10 will have one minute between selections, and the remainder of the selections will be made without delays.
By the end of the 3-day, 40-round draft, many names familiar only in their own households will begin to become familiar names in the Mariners family.