Men UConn and 2021 MLB Draft

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UConn mentions:

Frank Mozzicato, LHP, Manchester, East Catholic High: The UConn commit’s stock skyrocketed this past spring, at one point tossing four straight no-hitters and ultimately leading East Catholic to the Class M state title. Mozzicato boasts a fastball that hits 93 MPH, but his curveball is what separates him from the pack. He just turned 18, so he’s a bit of a risk, but the lefthander ranks No. 41 on Baseball America’s Top 500 draft prospects and is at No. 39 at MLB.com. He should be selected within the first three rounds, and one thing is certain: Mozzicato isn’t likely to set foot on campus in Storrs and play for Jim Penders, father of his East Catholic batterymate, Hank.

Ben Casparius, RHP, Westport, UConn:
After a strong first and final season at UConn in which he finished among the nation’s leaders in strikeouts, the former Staples High star and 2017 Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year attended the draft combine last week. He didn’t throw at all as he was in the midst of an 18-day shutdown following the end of UConn’s season, but he went through strength and conditioning exercises, met with teams and felt good about where he stands heading into the draft. “There’s a million different factors that go into it,” Casparius noted. “So, right now I’m confident I’ll go on Day 2.”

Rated as Baseball America’s No. 147 draft prospect and No. 170 by MLB.com, Casparius should be selected somewhere between rounds 3-8. His fastball can reach 95, but it’s arguably his third-best pitch behind his slider and change-up. That’s led some scouts to speculate that he’ll end up as a reliever, but Casparius isn’t thinking that way. “When I think about what I have to work on, it’s definitely fastball command,” he admitted. “But, I think having two-plus pitches right now, and potentially a third within the next couple of years, can really keep me in a starting rotation for a long time. That’s something, for me, that’s my next priority.”

Casparius, who began his career at North Carolina, actually has two more seasons of college eligibility left. He won’t be using those “If I get picked where I’m expecting to get picked, then I’m going to sign,” he said.

Patrick Winkel, C, Orange, UConn: The 2018 Gatorade Connecticut and GametimeCT Player of the Year who led Amity to three Class L state titles came back from Tommy John surgery to post a strong 2021 season with the Huskies (.284, 11 homers).

He’s currently playing in the Cape Cod League, but darted down to the MLB combine for a couple of days last week to participate in a few on-field workouts (batting practice, catching bullpens, throwing to bases) as well as individual interviews with several teams. “It was a great experience,” Winkel said, “not only going down there and being able to showcase my talents, but to be able to meet some guys I played against in college. There were some really good catchers down there, being able to pick their brains and kind of learn from the experience. It wasn’t just going down there and trying to show everyone everything you could do. For me, I wanted to go out there and meet people, pick people’s brains and just learn. The more you can learn, the better.”

Winkel was a 31st round pick by the Yankees out of high school in 2018 but figures to go much higher this time around. He rates as Baseball America’s No. 160 draft prospect (No. 223 at MLB.com) and should find himself selected within the first 10 rounds. “I’m really not hearing too much right now,” he said. “There’s still a good amount of time, still hoping to showcase what I can do this last week, kind of down the stretch. I’ve got a great team of people in my corner that I can rely on for advice and guidance. Honestly, whatever happens, happens.”

Kyler Fedko, OF, UConn: Hitting over .400 with 12 homers for the Huskies this season and earning Big East Player of the Year honors wasn’t enough to convince some scouts that he doesn’t boast the speed or glove to play center or right field, nor the power needed to play corner outfield. Still could be a Day 2 draftee.

Andrew Marrero, RHP, New Haven, UConn: Though he still has plenty of eligibility left at UConn and could be the Huskies’ closer next season, it’s not out of the realm that an organization could take a late-round shot at the Wilbur Cross grad who boasts a dynamic arm.
 
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Good read by Jacobs:



-> The College Coach: ‘Biggest Frank Mozzicato fans’

Long before the army of scouts descended, before his name came roaring through the spring, Mozzicato committed to UConn in 2019.

“I was surprised the scouting community hadn’t picked up on what he was doing by last year,” Jim Penders said. “The rubber arm, the breaking ball, he could spin it as a ninth-grader, it was stupid how well he threw it.

“We’d love to have the opportunity to win with Frank, but it’s going to be very difficult to say no if he’s taken anywhere near where he’s projected. Unbelievable parents. Grounded. Respectful of everyone. Deflects credit. Well-rounded. If any kid can handle this at 18, it’s Frank.”

The bonus money slotted for the Padres at 27th, for instance, is $2.57 million. Who passes that up?

“Since I was in high school, I counted Carl Pavano, Brook Fordyce, Rico Brogna, Sal Romano and Charlie Morton as the only Connecticut players drafted out of high school to make the big-leagues,” Penders, 49, said. “It’s extremely difficult, but I’d never bet against Frank. Whatever happens, we’re going to be the biggest Frank Mozzicato fans.”

Penders said Frank likes to kid how Hank used to be a squirt, but now it hurts when he tackles him in a dogpile.

“There’s always been something loose, smiling, charismatic about him,” Penders said. “One time at a East Catholic basketball game, during warm-ups, he came over and hugged my mom. She’s like, ‘I love that Frankie Mozzicato.’ Everybody loves Frankie.” <-


(Hearst has closed the Outline access door.)
 
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Question. Does the August 1 signing date also apply to players who are already in college with eligibility remaining? I believe in the past it has, but I just want to be sure.

Yes, definitely a big WOW with Frank Mozzicato going on the 7th pick of the draft. It would certainly seem unlikely that he will end up in Storrs, but we will see what happens. No matter what happens, I like to keep a positive spin on this, in that UConn was the college choice of a player who is this talented whether or not he ends up going pro or not. It really says something good about the program. The top programs are going to lose players to pro ball, so in that sense it puts UConn in good company. Hopefully, some other very talented players in the present and future who get drafted end up choosing to attend UConn. Right now I'm thinking Owen Kellington, we'll see what happens with him.
 
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Even though Frank will probably not go to UConn, it is absolutely insane that he went at #7. I sat next to him in 8th grade History and to see where he is now is just nuts. So proud and happy for him, he’s gonna do great in the Royals system. Let’s hope for more UConn names tomorrow!
 

Vowelguy

Boneyard contrarian since 1998
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Congrats to him & family.
Btw, is he related to either of the famed Mozzicato pastry makers of Hartford?
 
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With rocker being their first round pick they might be able to dangle more over slot money to sign Ziegler.
 
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