Florida's Mike Zunino breaks his bat in the eighth inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game against Vanderbilt, in Omaha, Neb., Friday, June 24, 2011. Florida advances to the championship series after beating Vanderbilt 6-4.

Eric Francis, Associated Press

Mike ZUNINO, catcher, Florida

  • June 4, 2012 - 2:27 PM


C, Florida • 6-2, 220 pounds

Born: March 25, 1991 (age 21)

Stats: .323 AVG/.394 OBP/.664 SLG, 16 HR, 55 RBI

Scouting report: Catchers who can hit are hard to find, and Zunino easily stands out as the best college position player in this draft. He's the son of Reds scout Greg Zunino and has an excellent feel for the game. He is a good defender, despite an average arm, and he can hit the ball to all fields with his powerful righthanded swing.

Twins should take him because: Joe Mauer no longer looks like he can catch 140 games per year, and when Justin Morneau becomes a free agent after the 2013 season, Mauer could make a permanent move to first base. The Twins should be familiar with Zunino. He went to Mariner High School in Cape Coral, Fla., a short drive from their spring training headquarters in Fort Myers.

Twins should pass because: He doesn't have the same upside as recent college draftees Buster Posey and Matt Wieters. Zunino's overall numbers at the plate are impressive, but he batted only .255 in SEC play, after being named that conference's Player of the Year in 2011. Zunino could become the next Jason Varitek, but the Twins would be better off rolling the dice on a starting pitcher.

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