As we work our way toward the start of spring training, MLB Network has been ranking the top ten players at each position.
Top 10 Catchers Right Now!
1. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
2. J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins
3. Yasmani Grandal, Milwaukee Brewers
4. Gary Sánchez, New York Yankees
5. Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
6. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
7. Kurt Suzuki, Washington Nationals
8. Wilson Ramos, New York Mets
9. Mike Zunino, Tampa Bay Rays
10. Salvador Pérez, Kansas City Royals
The Tampa Bay Rays have already been represented on one of these list, as Joey Wendle was ranked as the seventh-best second baseman in baseball. Now, the Rays will also be represented behind the plate as Mike Zunino has been ranked as the ninth-best backstop in the game.
Zunino was acquired by the Rays in November, along with Guillermo Heredia in the deal that sent Mallex Smith back to the Seattle Mariners. Zunino has a ton of power and is excellent defensively. The main problem with his game, is his contact ability as he struck out a career high, 37% of the time in 2018. He is just a year removed from a 2017 breakout campaign in which he hit .251/.331/.509 with 25 HR.
Zunino figures to be the Rays starting catcher in 2019, sharing the duties with either Nick Ciuffo or Michael Perez, both of whom will be competing for the backup job in spring training. Zunino just went through his second year of arbitration and is under contract through the 2020 campaign.