Just yesterday Mike Zunino was called up from Low-A ball in Everett to AA Jackson, which has become a bit of a star-studded team for an AA team, and now today the Mariners have signed Luiz Gohara.
Zunino has truly mashed in Everett, posting a .364 ISO and 10 home runs in 19 games. He’ll get the opportunity to catch James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, two of the Mariners top prospects and the two of the “Big Three” remaining in Jackson. We’ll also get a chance to see how he performs in a more hitter-neutral envirionment. Everett is known for being very hitter-friendly, and Zunino has already shown that he can hit off the caliber of pitcher that tends to be found in the Northwest League, generally guys well within their first couple of years of pro ball.
It’s probably not wise to read so far into this promotion as to believe that Zunino could make a big impact as soon as 2013. The team has chosen to aggressively promote to AA, skipping the launching pad in Adelanto California where the High Desert Mavericks play and lower level competition in Clinton where the Lumberkings play.
Zunino doesn’t appear to need too much season in one particular category, though, which is good news, as his pick was clearly made with eyes on a rapid ascent through the system, and hopefully to get Jesus Montero the hell out from behind the plate.
The signing of Luiz Gohara may not get as much ink, but is ultimately more surprising. Gohara is 6-3, 220 lbs, and throws upwards of the mid-90s according to Baseball America. Some teams had the Brazillian lefty rated as their top international free agent, and while Gohara is many years away from playing in Safeco Field, lefties that can miss bats are a great fit for the park, even if the dimensions change.
Gohara apparently boasts a slider that is advanced for his age, and between he and Tyler Pike the Mariners have spent on two teenage lefties who appear to have some “pitchability,” which is good news for those who can recognize the value they are building in the farm system.
Gohara also represents another large fish caught by the Mariners in the international free agent market since Tom McNamara and Jack Zduriencik took over the personnel department. The Mariners have made splashes signing Guillermo Pimentel, Philips Castillo, and Victor Sanchez among other international free agents in the past couple of years.