On Monday, the MLB announced the first round of All-Star voting results, and the Tampa Bay Rays are being disrespected. The Rays have three players in the top ten for their respective position, first baseman Ji-Man Choi (6th), outfielder Randy Arozerena (8th), and catcher Mike Zunino (6th).
The biggest surprises from these initial results are the lack of votes for starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow and outfielder/DH Austin Meadows, but seeing Zunino outside the top five was the most disappointing.
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Where Mike Zunino currently stands
The current catcher rankings look as such:
- Salvador Perez, Royals
- Yasmani Grandal, White Sox
- Martin Maldonado, Astros
- Christian Vasquez, Red Sox
- Kurt Suzuki, Angels
- Mike Zunino, Rays
The Case for Mike Zunino
Despite being sixth in votes, Zunino’s statistical year puts him inside the top three in multiple important categories. According to Stathead.com, Zunino is ranked second in home runs (13), slugging percentage (.490), and OPS (.773) third in RBI’s (27).
When considering those numbers with the fact that Zunino has only played the fifth-most games out of the six mentioned catchers, it becomes clear Zunino’s case is built around his ability to hit the ball with power better than most.
Aside from his power, Zunino is posting a .995 fielding percentage and has built up a reputation as a strong pitch framer, which can’t truly be translated into statistical data.
Besides what’s in the stat book, Mike Zunino was one of the Rays’ hottest players during their 11 -game winning streak and has continued to be a much-needed power bat in the lineup of the league’s best team.
The case against Mike Zunino
There are always two sides to every story, and Mike Zunino’s stat line is no exception. The Rays’ catcher is currently posting a .189 batting average and a massive strikeout ratio of 40.1%.
Shockingly his batting average is still good for fourth-place amongst the six catchers mentioned, but there’s no defending that strikeout ratio.
Zunino can’t control when his teammates can get on base before him, but only 27 RBI’s on 13 home runs is underwhelming and means that he’s hit many solo bombs.
According to Baseball-reference.com, Zunino has only driven in 13 of the 89 baserunners he’s had on base while at-bat, which is good for only 14.6%.
How to vote for Mike Zunino, and the rest of the Tampa Bay Rays
With all this evidence in front of us, it is clear that Mike Zunino’s All-Star case is a curious one. Regardless, I hope to see the backstop in Denver come All-Star weekend. If you want to vote for Zunino and other Rays, go to https://www.mlb.com/all-star/ballot.