Another demotion to Triple-A for the former top prospect, but maybe this time is different.
When Opening Day starter and former third overall pick Mike Zunino was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma on May 5, a nation wondered aloud: Mike Zunino had an option left?
After a hurried minor-league prologue and a full 2014 season, the catcher has had opportunities each year to tour Tacoma’s beautiful Museum of Glass, the latest demotion coming off of a .167/.250/.236 start with the Mariners. It’s a disappointing regression for a player who looked as though he were kind of, sort of, maybe just barely figuring it out in 2016.
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On the fourth episode of DFA, Bryan, R.J., and Shawn discuss the Marlins and the difficulty of rebuilding a rotation from nothing at all. After that, the guys cover the Mariners' slow descent into madness, which obviously had an effect on them as well, as they spent too much time riffing on Adam Rosales.
It's Baseball Prospectus's newest podcast: DFA! Host Bryan Grosnick (Baseball Prospectus), co-host R.J. Anderson (CBS Sports), and producer Shawn Brody (Beyond the Box Score, BP Mets) are talking about all the transactions and roster moves that make MLB go. From trades and signings to callups and disabled list stints, DFA is here to provide analysis and commentary on all things baseball.
On the fourth episode of DFA, Bryan and R.J. discuss the Marlins and their rotation choices after the untimely death of staff ace Jose Fernandez. After injuries to Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez, is the team too flawed to move forward, or can their vaunted bullpen shoulder the load. Then it's on to talk about the Mariners once again, as James Paxton's injury reminds us to never love pitchers, and Mike Zunino's demotion gets the guys talking about the devaluation of pitch framing. Finally, during our batting practice segment, things get a little weird when the topic of Adam Rosales randomly comes up.
I must confess: I am a bit of a catcher defensive metric agnostic. Or perhaps I am just a bit wary of defensive run values in general. I am not one to damper the Catchella spirit though, so I threw on a Come On Feel The Illinoise! T-shirt and pored over a very large spreadsheet of minor-league catcher defensive data to see how the stats match up with our scouting reports. Spoiler alert: It did make me think about the way I and others evaluate catcher defense from a scouting perspective.
I divided the subjects into a few tiers and all stats come from levels and seasons for which we have framing data.
These young players have exhausted their rookie eligibility, but they retain plenty of fantasy intrigue.
As a fantasy player, prospect junkie, and wannabe scout, nothing appeals to me more than evaluating young MLB talent and seeing how players’ skills translate into big-league results. This most often comes in the form of prospect evaluation, as we're always clamoring to find the next best thing, and to find that ultimate fantasy prospect whose flaws have not yet been exposed to the world.
Yet now that I've been doing this for a while, I find that it's often post-prospects—players who've recently lost their rookie eligibility—who yield the greatest rewards in fantasy leagues. Once a player struggles or is simply mortal in the majors, he tends to fall off of fantasy radars as we collectively look to the next best things. This is a mistake, and it ignores standard developmental curves, which is why post-prospects are such a great source of surplus fantasy value year after year.
In the debut edition of the Three True Outcomes podcast, our fantasy crew looks at catchers for Scoresheet leagues.
Welcome to BP’s take on Scoresheet fantasy baseball. Scoresheet, for those unfamiliar, is a type of fantasy baseball in which your drafted team plays simulated games each week against other teams in your league, with your players’ performance depending on how they played in real life that week—but not entirely, unlike in a roto or head-to-head league. Other differences from most roto leagues include the importance of real-life fielding ability and a tendency for rosters to be rather deep. While many Scoresheet leagues have their own unique quirky rules, most allow players to be kept for an indefinite number of years, and allow rookies to be kept very cheaply. For non-Scoresheet players in deep or dynasty leagues, we urge you to check out BP’s new TINO podcast, but after you listen to that, we think we will be able to provide some supplementary value as well. Or, better yet, sign up for a Scoresheet team to explore a whole new world of fantasy baseball.
We want to thank BP for this chance to contribute to their suite of fantasy baseball offerings. Our goal is for the weekly column and podcast to complement each other. Both will cover similar ground and maybe even the same jokes. But we believe reading the article will make the podcast more meaningful. And vice versa. In upcoming weeks we look forward to joining in the BP Fantasy fun by taking a position-by-position look at the upcoming season, starting with catcher this week. We’ve got lots more planned after that, but if there’s anything you’d like us to tackle, please feel free to contact us @TTOScoresheet on Twitter or at email@example.com
You might not want to buy or draft these backstops in your leagues this spring.
On Monday, the BP Fantasy staff brought you a collection of catchers you’d be wise to target in your drafts this season. Because every internet column has an equal and opposite column, we shall now bring you the names of many backstops you should avoid.
Travis d’Arnaud, Mets
Dissing d’Arnaud, while certainly a catchy name for a cover band, isn’t something I jumped at. In long-term leagues, by all means, go crazy. But for the upcoming season, I’m not going out of my way for any Met not named David Wright (pitchers not included). The 24-year-old will be buried at the bottom of a New York lineup that finished 29th in terms of wOBA (.297) in 2013, and while the team might be marginally better with Curtis Granderson onboard, I’m not seeing an offensive revival of great significance. We have only 31 games of major-league data to go by, and that small sample size produced a lowly line of .202/.286/.263 and one home run. A full-time job doesn’t guarantee anything—even for a former no. 1 organizational prospect—and I’m afraid the name might outweigh d’Arnaud’s actual value on draft day. —Alex Kantecki
A look at how catchers stack up for fantasy purposes between now and 2016.
Everyone in fantasy sports loves to look ahead. Even in the throes of a pennant race, you can fire up a conversation about next year’s first round and it will go on for an hour. With that in mind, the BP fantasy team will be taking a long-view look at every position this offseason with three-year rankings (composite value over the next three seasons). Since it is Catcher Week, the backstops will kick things off. Catchers are particularly difficult to project over a three-year period because you have guys that shift off of the position entirely while the learning curve for young guys is so sharp given all of their defensive duties.
With Joe Mauer done at the position after this year, he’s not going to rank on the list, as even a first-place finish this year wouldn’t be enough. Meanwhile there is some projection to be done with guys who could move off the position so you will see some of those guys much lower than you might anticipate since I have them delivering zero value at the position in year three.
New manager Lloyd McClendon's bunch boasts a couple of impact pitchers, but are there any bats to see here?
The Mariners have some financial flexibility and are expected to add to their offense this offseason. Maybe that means writing Jacoby Ellsbury a blank check. Maybe it means settling for another year of Raul Ibanez. Maybe we’ll see some middle ground with Curtis Granderson or Nelson Cruz.
But, as this lineup stands on November 6, there’s not a ton of reason for fantasy optimism. And, given Safeco’s depressing offensive environment and the lack of talent in this lineup, and counting stats will be even harder to come by.
Seattle summons another highly touted catching prospect and hopes this one doesn't disappoint.
The Situation: With suspect talent behind the dish at the major league level, the Mariners are calling up their catcher of the future to help provide a spark in the present. You can question the motives behind the move, as the unattractive whiff of desperation can be found if you really want to find it, but the position is in need of an upgrade, and Zunino is the beneficiary of the opportunity.
Background: After a standout college career at the University of Florida, Zunino was popped with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. As a dual-threat catcher with some polish, Zunino was seen by many as a fast-track candidate to the highest level, a player who could start providing a return on Seattle’s initial $4M investment without a lengthy trek through the minor leagues. It was all sunshine and roses after he signed, as the then 21-year-old was the darling of the Northwest League, hitting a robust .373/.474/.736 in 29 games before a late-season promotion to Double-A, where he continued to impress with the stick.