Mike Zunino was selected by the Mariners with the third overall pick in the draft two weeks ago and today Baseball America named the University of Florida catcher their college player of the year.
Zunino hit .322 with a 1.069 OPS for the Gators, ranking fourth in the country with 19 homers, 10th with 67 RBIs, and 11th with a .669 slugging percentage. He also received praise for his leadership and defense behind the plate.
He hasn’t signed with the Mariners yet because the Gators were only recently eliminated from the College World Series, but the slot amount for the No. 3 pick is $5.2 million.
UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer was Baseball America‘s college player of the year in 2011 and the 21-year-old right-hander is already at Triple-A after being selected third overall by the Diamondbacks. Other winners during the past five years are Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey, and David Price.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.