Many choices, one plan for Zamarripa
PULASKI – James Zamarripa, athlete, has had ample opportunity to showcase his talents.
Zamarripa, 18, had major college scholarship offers in two sports. Those opportunities each had appeal.
A three-year high school football player in Rancho Cucamonga, Cal., two Pac-10 schools liked him as a slot receiver. Arizona State and Cal both offered him scholarships.
As it turned out, he spurned the gridiron overtures to accept a baseball scholarship offer to San Diego State. He made that decision as a junior in high school.
“After that, other colleges stopped talking to me [about baseball],” he said.
Everything changed in June of last year, right after graduation. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder was the Seattle Mariners’ pick in the sixth round of the amateur draft. A family discussion ensued. That didn’t last long.
“The goal was Major League baseball,” he said.
He signed the contract. Less than a year later, he’s making a go of it with the Pulaski Mariners of the rookie Appalachian League.
Zamarripa, who bats and throws left, has struggled with the stick so far, batting a chilly .125 (4-for-32). The good news is that three of the hits included a pair of doubles and a triple. Two of the hits came with men on and a harvest of two runs batted in followed. Less happy are the nine strikeouts.
The struggles date back to last year’s debut in the Arizona League. After a hot start, he cooled in the second part of the campaign.
“I honestly looked for a reason to write Zamarripa in on the ‘up’ side of this ledger last week,” wrote Rick Randall, who has a who’s hot/not column for Scout.com. … [Zamarripa] was hitting north of .340 just a few weeks ago, but he has gone into a tailspin of late, and the strikeouts are starting to pile up.”
Zamarripa ended .266 with 13 RBIs and 38 whiffs in 139 at bats. One point easy to overlook: He turned 18 after the season ended.
Clearly, he has a ways to go. As a high-round draftee, he’ll be given ample opportunity.
For his part, there has been no second-guessing the choice to delay higher education, no matter the sport. Football was never really in the picture anyway.
“I like football, but it was more just for fun and to get in shape for baseball season,” he said. “Baseball’s my game.”
The San Diego State offer was more of a problem to discard. The draw there was nice college, sublime weather, Tony Gwynn. The Aztecs’ coach needs no introduction.
“Hall of Fame outfielder, which is the position I play – what better person to have for a coach?” Zamarripa said.
The decision to go pro provided the de facto answer: Rafael Santo Domingo. He’s the hitting instructor on manager Jose Moreno’s coaching staff at Pulaski.
Before Zamarripa got here, he worked through the off season with a personal trainer. The coach, Dave Coggin, specializes in training baseball players. His client list includes active pros and pro as well as college prospects, Zamarripa said.
“He’s a great trainer,” the player said.
Looking ahead, Zamarripa has some college money in the deal he signed with the Mariners, typical for contracts of highly-regarded prospects who had college offers out of high school.
Zamarripa plans to take some online classes when he gets the chance. Interesting to note, he’s not looking at life beyond baseball at this point.
In other words, there is no Plan B.
By Ray Cox
The Roanoke Times | 381-1672
No Comments »
No comments yet.