After being a team detriment over the last two seasons carrying a 49 OPS+ and bWAR line below replacement level, Mike Zunino is back in Tampa as the veteran option at catcher. Possibly more disheartening than his action at the plate is what he does behind it where, according to Baseball Savant, Zunino ranks 54th of 62 qualifying catchers at framing non-swing pitches for strikes.
We’ll have to see if Zunino’s massive raw power profile finally proves itself in 2021, but the last two campaigns have inspired little confidence.
Francisco Mejia, who was once one of the best catching prospects in the game, latches onto Tampa Bay as a result of the Blake Snell trade. Likely the first player to make an impact among the four-player haul, Mejia will need to show more consistency than he has thus far in order to dethrone Zunino.
In parts and pieces of major league action dating back to 2017, Mejia has an OPS+ below 80 and despite the Rays obvious positional need he has been prognosticated for a move to a corner infield or outfield position. That doesn’t stop the switch hitter from having the occasional web gem, however.