In what appears to be one of the bigger steals of the later rounds, the Minnesota Twins picked up Connecticut junior second baseman L.J. Mazzilli, the son of former MLB player/manager Lee Mazzilli.
Projected as a fifth or sixth round pick, Mazzilli slid all the way down to the the second selection of the ninth round and No. 280 overall. A productive player during his three-year stint with the Huskies, Mazzilli is a jack-of-all-trades type of player that lacks an elite quality, and likely slipped because of it. Even though many of his attributes grade out as average and hardly dazzle scouts, MLB.com still served up plenty of praise for the six-foot infielder:
He has a short, compact swing and should be able to hit for a good average at the next level. He has shown good power this spring but many believe that at best, it will be average. He has the ability to steal some bases and has shown it throughout his college career, but it will not be his best asset. Mazzilli is not the greatest defender at second but scouts believe that with some instruction he could be an average defender. Mazzilli's bat will most likely be too much for teams to pass on in the top five rounds of the Draft.
After the Mazzilli pick, the Twins went right back to the well and picked up yet another handful of young pitching prospects. Arkansas' D.J. Basendale was the first at No. 310, and the organization followed up by snatching another SEC player in Kentucky's Taylor Rodgers 30 picks later.
With as many as 10 pitchers already in the bag, the Twins refused to ignore their desperate push to bring as many talented arms to Minnesota as physically possible, and went ahead and grabbed Alexander Muren from Cal State-Northridge at No. 370 and South Carolina high school prospect Erich Knab at No. 400. The two selections give the Twins a whopping 12 pitching prospects drafted out of 16 picks alone, and make it painfully clear just how badly this franchise needed quality arms.
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