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Mariners draft top catching prospect with 3rd overall pick

The 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year player draft got underway today, and the Seattle Mariners were afforded the luxury of the 3rd overall pick as a result of their poor finish last season.

With that pick, the Mariners chose catcher Mike Zunino, a junior from the University of Florida. The 21 year old was ranked as the top catcher in the draft, and has been touted as a strong, athletic catcher with excellent power as a hitter. In 62 games with Florida this season, Zunino had a batting average of .312, hitting 18 home runs and 60 runs batted in.

The selection does leave some question as to how Zunino will fit in to the Mariners lineup in the future. Earlier this year, the Mariners traded for another top-ranked catcher, Jesus Montero, from the Yankees in exchange for pitcher Michael Pineda. Montero has been scouted as a below average fielding catcher, and the Mariners may see him as a full-time designated hitter, or perhaps moving to a different position once Zunino arrives in the big leagues.

Some scouts suggest Zunino could arrive in the Major League as soon as late 2014 or early 2015. Zunino is not the first in his family to be involved in the Major Leagues - his father is a scout for the Cincinnati Reds.

Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.