The Royals have announced a deal with left-hander Frank Mozzicato, selected seventh overall by K.C. in last week’s amateur draft. MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis reports (Twitter link) that Mozzicato signed for a bonus of $3.55MM, considerably below the $5,432,400 slot value attached to the seventh overall pick.
The savings will allow to the Royals to spend more of their $10,917,700 bonus pool on their other picks, and there was some expectation that Mozzicato would take a below-slot deal since Kansas City exceeded the projections of draft pundits by taking Mozzicato with the seventh pick. There was a fairly wide range of opinion about Mozzicato’s draft stock, with ESPN.com’s Kiley McDaniel coming in highest by ranking Mozzicato as the 21st-best prospect in the class. (Fangraphs had the left-hander 29th, MLB Pipeline 39th, Baseball America 41st, and The Athletic’s Keith Law 54th.)
Mozzicato elevated his profile with an outstanding finish to his Connecticut high school career this spring, including a rather incredible stretch of four consecutive no-hitters. As noted in Fangraphs’ scouting report, “it’s tough to measure the performance of Northeast prep players due to the level of competition,” but clearly the Royals feel Mozzicato’s potential was worthy of such a high pick.
A plus curveball is Mozzicato’s signature pitch, receiving a 60 grade (on the 20-80 scouting scale) from both Pipeline and BA. McDaniel even writes that some scouts were even more bullish on Mozzicato’s curve, putting it in the 65-70 range. “Mozzicato already manipulates speeds on his curveball based on the situation like a veteran, with an ability to consistently execute and command the pitch well beyond his years,” according to Baseball America. Beyond the big breaking ball, Mozzicato has a fastball that sits in the early 90’s but with the potential for more velocity to be added.