Mike Zunino: Report Card Grades for MLB Debut of 2012's No. 3 Overall Pick

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIJune 13, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 12:  Mike Zunino #3 of the Seattle Mariners throws out Marwin Gonzalez of the Houston Astros on a steal attempt at second base in the eighth inning at Safeco Field on June 12, 2013 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Mike Zunino made his much-anticipated debut for the Seattle Mariners Wednesday and had mixed results.

While not as highly anticipated as Gerrit Cole's debut, Zunino still had Seattle fans buzzing after his promotion from Triple-A.

Zunino batted from the No. 6 hole in the lineup, going 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout as the Mariners lost to the Houston Astros, 6-1.

Let's take a closer look at Zunino's debut.


First At-Bat: F

Zunino had an awful first at-bat in which he struck out on six pitches.

Mike Zunino with a pretty awful approach in his first at-bat. Swung and missed at two curveballs way out of the zone.

— Colin Means (@colinmeans) June 13, 2013

Maybe it was just nerves, but Zunino got a collective groan from Seattle fans as Jordan Lyles made him look like a fool.

Sure, he fouled off a few pitches, but it showed just how far he still has to go with those two swings on balls out of the zone.


Second At-Bat: B-

Zunino picked up his first hit of his career with a single up the middle

Mike Zunino with his first major league hit, a single up the gut. Would've been an RBI but Franklin held up.

— Jacob Thorpe (@Jacob_B_Thorpe) June 13, 2013

Unfortunately for the Mariners, Brendan Ryan and Alex Liddi each struck out swinging to end the inning.


Third At-Bat: C+

Zunino showed his ability to be patient as he reached a full count against Lyles.

However, he grounded out to third base to end the inning.

He may have grounded out, but he did take six pitches to get out. In my book, that's a decent out against a starting pitcher.


Fourth At-Bat: C-

After Nick Franklin singled to give the Mariners the lead, Zunino came up with the opportunity to add some insurance.

Instead, he lined out to left field to end the inning on the second pitch.

I have no problem with Zunino going for it on the second pitch because it was in the heart of the zone. He just didn't place it where he needed to and got the third out of the inning.


Behind the Plate: A+

Zunino had the opportunity to show off his arm behind the plate when he threw out Miguel Gonzalez trying to steal second.

Gonzalez singles but doesn't even bother sliding when @mike_zunino guns him down at second. #MarinersLive

— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) June 13, 2013

He also blocked many balls in the dirt, keeping them from the backstop, something you like to see in a catcher.

Zunino may not have shown much with his bat, but if Wednesday's performance behind the plate was any indication, he'll be a success defensively.


Overall: C+

Zunino went 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout in his debut.

But it was him gunning down Gonzalez on an attempted steal that was his highlight of the night.

Had the steal been successful, who knows what would have happened.

It wasn't the best debut by a top rookie this year, but it was still a decent one.

The one thing some may look at is he had his opportunity to give the M's insurance. It was insurance that hindsight shows they needed.

Regardless, the jury is still out on Zunino. He has to show a little more at the plate.


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