Much to the delight of the Tampa Bay Rays’ pitching staff, defensive wizard, Mike Zunino will be back behind the plate for the Rays in 2020.
Birthplace: Cape Coral, FL
Acquired via trade 11/08/2018: Tampa Bay Rays traded Jake Fraley and Mallex Smith for Mike Zunino, Michael Plassmeyer and Guillermo Heredia.
2019 Salary: $4,412,000
2020 Salary: $4,500,000
Free Agent: 2022 (Club Option for 2021)
VS LHP: .154/.238/.231
VS RHP: .171/.229/.354
- In 2017, Mike Zunino hit .251/.331/.509 with 25 HRs and 64 RBIs in just 387 ABs. He posted a 3.4 WAR that season.
- Outside of 2017, Zunino has only hit above .201 once (.214 in 2013).
- Zunino has a career .995 fielding percentage.
- Mike threw out 39% of base runners last season.
- Despite plenty of swings and misses last season, Zunino’s average exit velocity still remained at 88.4 mph in 2019.
- In 2014, Zunino was beaned an incredible 17 times, leading the American League in bruises.
2020 Steamer Projections
Defense is number one when it comes to the catcher position. This is especially true with the Rays’ philosophy. Zunino proved his worth despite hitting .165. Zunino earned the Wilson defensive player of the year award in 2018. He finished that season with 12 defensive runs saved and a .998 fielding percentage.
This past season Zunino added another nine defensive runs saved and threw out a career-high 39% of base runners. If his bat can get remotely good enough to return to his 20+ homer ways, Zunino and Michael Perez could make a wonderful combination behind the plate.
What are you looking forward to from Mike Zunino in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!