Mike Zunino, the Mariners’ first pick, No. 3 overall, in June free agent draft, was the recipient of the 2012 Golden Spikes Award, USA Baseball said Friday.
Mark Appel (RHP, Stanford) and Carlos Rodon (LHP, North Carolina State) were the other finalists.
Zunino is Florida’s first Golden Spikes winner and the highest draft pick in the school’s history. The Cape Coral, FL., native was a consensus first-team All-America in 2012, the first Dick Howser Trophy recipient from Florida, Baseball America’s 2012 College Player of the Year, and the initial Johnny Bench Award winner from UF.
He finished his college career as the Gators’ Triple Crown winner, leading the team in batting average (.322), RBIs (67) and homers (19), and paced the Gators in total bases (164), doubles (28), sacrifice flies (11) and slugging percentage (.669).
Zunino was also 9-for-10 in stolen-base attempts. According to NCAA statistics, Zunino ranked first nationally in sacrifice flies, third in doubles, fourth in home runs, fifth in total bases, ninth in doubles per game, 10th in RBIs and 11th in slugging percentage.
A two-time, first-team All-SEC recipient and two-time member of the league’s All-Defensive Team, the three-year starter registered a .994 fielding percentage in his final season, with three errors in 510 chances, and threw out 20 runners who attempted to steal.
Zunino is the third catcher in five years to win the Golden Spikes, joining Bryce Harper (Southern Nevada, 2010) and Buster Posey (Florida State, 2008). Jason Varitek (Georgia Tech, 1994), a former draft choice by the Mariners, is the only other backstop to have won the GSA.