Thursday, April 12, 2018

Meet a Prospect: L.J. Mazzilli



The New York Yankees made an interesting move this week when they swapped outfielder Kendall Coleman for New York Mets prospect L.J. Mazzilli. It was interesting to see Mazzilli join the organization that currently employs his father, Lee Mazzilli, who is a special advisor to the Yankees front office, and his twin sister and YES Network personality Lacey Mazzilli. While trading Coleman makes sense for the Yankees, the former 11th round pick has struggled in Low-A ball since his drafting in 2013, it hurts a bit as a fan as I have grown close to Coleman and even interviewed him shortly after the Yankees drafted him here on the site. I will try not to hold my fandom and personal feelings against L.J. as I introduce him to the Yankees and Greedy Pinstripes faithful here this morning. This is Meet a Prospect: The L.J. Mazzilli Edition.

Lee Louis Mazzilli Jr. was born on September 6, 1990 in Greenwich, Connecticut to former MLB player and pitching coach Lee Mazzilli and his wife Dani. Lee Louis, or L.J. which stands for Lee Jr., played Little League Baseball while in Greenwich and even won a Little League Home Run Derby at the age of 12 before truly beginning his amateur career at Greenwich High School. Mazzilli later transferred to Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle, New York due to their stronger baseball program before ultimately ending up at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for his senior year of High School. All the bouncing around did some good for Mazzilli as the shortstop was able to enroll at the University of Connecticut where he continued his amateur baseball career.

While playing for the Connecticut Huskies baseball team Mazzilli was moved to second base as the Huskies had Nick Ahmed already manning the shortstop position. Mazzilli showed great potential with his bat as a freshman, sophomore and junior garnering the attention of the Minnesota twins who selected Mazzilli in the ninth round, 280th overall, of the 2012 MLB First Year Players Draft. Mazzilli ultimately decided not sign with Minnesota despite being offered a $260,000 signing bonus and returned to UCONN for his senior season. The decision turned out to be a good one for Mazzilli who hit .354 with 51 RBI and 29 stolen bases as a senior.

The New York Mets selected Mazzilli in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft with the 116th overall selection and was immediately signed to the New York-Penn League. Mazzilli was named to the Short Season All-Star team in 2013 before earning a promotion to Class-A Ball and the South Atlantic League (SAL) for the 2014 season. Another year and another All-Star Game appearance for Mazzilli in 2014, this time earning the nod in the SAL All-Star Game, before making stops in Class-A Advanced, Double-A and even Triple-A with the Las Vegas 51s before the end of the season.

The 2014 season was kind to Mazzilli but the offseason before the 2015 season could not say the same. During the 2014-2015 offseason Mazzilli was suspended for the first 50 games of the season after failing a second test for “drug abuse.” Mazzilli was assigned to Double-A Binghamton for the remainder of the 2015 season where he would remain for the rest of that season and for the majority of the 2016 season. In August of 2016 Mazzilli found himself back in Triple-A with Las Vegas, where he finished the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Mazzilli, drafted as a second baseman, was learning the outfield position with the Mets which led to the slow down in progression for him as a prospect.

Mazzilli was back in Triple-A to begin the 2018 season before the need for infield and outfield depth at the upper levels of the organization led the New York Yankees to come calling. The Yankees traded Coleman to the Mets thus bringing Mazzilli to the team and to the organization. Welcome, L.J.! Do us proud.

2 comments:

  1. I would have preferred a pic of his "twinny"...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, as would I. Maybe we change the section of the site to wives, girlfriends and sisters?

      Delete