Kevin Goldstein of BP and ESPN.com, listed 22-year-old Mets pitching prospect Cory Mazzoni among his 10 breakout prospects for 2012. Goldstein writes:
“Those numbers came in short stints after a heavy college workload, and he’ll return to starting in 2012, equipped with a fastball and slider that both rate as above average. His early success has some tempted to see if he could move quickly as a reliever, but for now, that’s a backup plan.”
Our own Pete Shapiro ranked Cory Mazzoni #11 in our MMO Top 50 Propsects and had this to say about him:
The Mets nabbed Mazzoni in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft out of North Carolina State. He was a starter for much of his college career and should remain one in the pro’s, at least for the time being.
In 2011 Mazzoni pitched 114.2 IP as a starter for NC State, over 16 starts. His record was 6-6 with a 3.30 ERA, 91 hits, but what was most noticeable was the 137 strikeouts and 29 walks. After signing his contract with the Mets, he was sent to Brooklyn to begin his professional career, but the Mets were hesitant to have him start, so as not to run up his inning totals, he worked out of the pen. He threw 6 IP for the Cyclones before finishing his year with 7 IP in the FSL. That’s just under 130 IP for the year which the Mets felt was plenty, and it puts him on track for 150 IP next season.
The 22-year-old righty is listed at 6’1″, and 194 lbs., but he still generates a lot of power for someone with that kind of frame. He throws his fastball low to mid-nineties with excellent location, and was topping out in the Cape Cod League last summer at 97. What’s even better is that he can maintain his velocity deep into games. The knock on his fastball is that it is on the straight side, and can be hit. But as he advances through the system hopefully he can learn ways to find some more movement on the pitch, even if it means dialing it back a bit.
He throws three secondary pitches: a very good slider in the 81-84 mph range, a hard-breaking curve-ball with drop (which is somewhat inconsistent, and has a tendency to flatten out), and a splitter. Many scouts have stated they would prefer he throw a conventional change, which the Mets may try and teach him. Although he definitely exhibits the arm-strength to start, he may be better suited for the pen where he could max out with his FB, and then mix in his other offerings to keep the opposition off-balance. Next season will go a long way towards determining the direction for this otherwise polished pitcher.
I have Mazzoni penciled in to start next season in the rotation at high A, St. Lucie, Florida State League. He should team up well with a few other former college hurlers, who were high draft picks last year, and could also start next season in the St. Lucie rotation: Logan Verrett (3rd round),Tyler Pill (4th round), and Jack “The Rocket” Leathersich (5th round). That could make for a pretty interesting mix of talent. Stay tuned.