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Padres intrigued by Zunica's raw power

Big first baseman out of SCF has not yet reached potential

SAN DIEGO -- In a Draft class filled with big bodies, Brad Zunica, selected in the 15th round, might have the biggest of the 39 players the Padres selected in the Draft, which concluded Wednesday.

Zunica, a first baseman from State College of Florida Manatee, stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 256 pounds. But it's not so much Zunica's size that the Padres are infatuated with.

It's his big, left-handed swing, one with easy power that the team feels profiles well moving into the professional game.

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"A very interesting kid. He's a big kid with big-time power from the left side and has a chance to be a middle-of-the-order bat down the road," said Padres area scout Chris Kelly. "He seemed to always be at his best when he was facing the top pitching in his conference."

Zunica hit .311 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI for SCF this past spring. He transferred there after playing as a freshman at the University of Miami in 2014, hitting .174 in 40 at-bats. He actually skipped his senior year of high school to enroll at Miami and won't turn 20 until October.

In other words, SCF coach Tim Hill II feels, Zunica might just be starting to scratch the surface of what he might become.

"I think he's got a chance to be a good one," Hill said. "And with Brad, it's not an all-or-nothing type of swing, either. He's got an approach. He's handled some tough pitching. I think his best days are ahead of him."

Hill said Zunica's best tool is his most obvious -- his plus power, and that he has it from the left side makes him that much more appealing.

"He has a lot of power from the left side and if when you hear from scouts, they'll tell you that is hard to find," Hill said. "And he's faced some pretty good arms down here. He got about 200 at-bats. He said the pitching he faced here was just as good as he faced at Miami."

And those 13 home runs? Zunica might have had more if it weren't for SCF's roomy dimensions at its home ballpark, where it was 330 feet down the line but 375 to the gap in right-center.

"He's got a nice swing and power is his tool," Hill said. "He led our state in RBIs and we have a pretty big ballpark. I can't tell you had many times he flew out to the fence in right field. If he played anywhere else, he might have had 20 or more home runs."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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