Name: Matt Rizzotti
DOB: 12/24/85 (25 as of April 1, 2011)
Weight: 235 lbs
Drafted: 6th round, 2007 ($120,000 bonus)
Pre Draft Report: Matt Rizzotti was originally selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 46th round of the 2004 draft out of Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, the same school that has produced such notable alumni as legendary basketball coach Lou Carnesecca, legendary tennis player Vitas Gerulaitis, current NY governor Andrew Cuomo, and Roger Clemens pal Brian McNamee. As a senior at Molloy, Rizzotti was named a Louisville Slugger All-American after hitting .512 with 16 homers and 52 RBI, while breaking the school’s career HR record that had stood for 33 years.
Rizzotti opted to attend Manhattan College rather than sign. With the Jaspers, Rizzotti was a three-time First-Team All-MAAC selection, posting career marks of a .367 average with 29 HRs, 143 RBI, and 148 BBs resulting in a 1.115 OPS. He also posted a .994 career fielding percentage at 1B. He also played in the Cape Cod League and was ranked as the 18th best prospect in the league by PG Crosschecker in2006, which was no small feat considering the league included players like Matt Wieters, Andrew Brackman, Justin Smoak, Brett Cecil, and Buster Posey that year. Vance Worley and Michael Taylor were among the players ranked lower than Rizzotti on that list.
Heading into the 2007 draft, Baseball America rated Rizzotti as the 2nd best prospect in the state of New York and #187 nationally. BA’s scouting report on Rizzotti was very mixed, as it noted his tantalizing pole-to-pole power, but noted that it was primarily seen during batting practice but was “inconsistent” in game action. It also mentioned his patience at the plate (as evidenced by his very high walk rate in college), but offset this by noting that scouts would like him to be more aggressive (even though it pointed out a high swing-and-miss rate as well). On the defensive side, BA noted his lack of athleticism and mobility and labeled his defense at 1B as “adequate”.
The Phillies selected Rizzotti in the 6th round. He signed slightly after the draft and began his career in Williamsport.
Career Synopsis: Rizzotti began his career with Williamsport, and his first season of pro ball was somewhat lackluster, hitting just two homers in 252 PAs, which contributed to a .741 OPS. While he did walk at a 12% clip, he also fanned in 25% of his PAs.
Rizzotti played most of 2008 at Lakewood, save for a four game stint in the GCL. While slightly old for the SAL, the season showed some improvement as he tacked on 90 points to his OPS (while upping his HR total to 10), cut his K rate slightly to 22%, and increased his BB rate to 15%.
Rizzotti spent 2009 in Clearwater in his age 23 season. In many ways, it was similar to his 2008, with a 23% K rate and a 12% BB rate, and an .806 OPS, although his HR frequency did increase from one every 46 PAs in 2008 to one every 31 PAs in 2009.
Three seasons into his career, Rizzotti appeared to be nothing more than organizational fodder; BA didn’t even list him on the Phils’ depth chart in its 2010 Prospect Handbook. However, Rizzotti turned that around with a big 2010. Starting the season in Clearwater, he simply hit all year and landed in Allentown by the end of the year. In 484 PAs across the three levels, he posted a .985 OPS. While his HR rate remained about the same as the year before, the growth in OPS was fueled by a batting average that was 65 points higher than his previous career best and a spike in his 2B rate. And while Rizzotti continued to walk at a rate in line with his career numbers, he nudged his K rate below 20%. He continued to perform well in the AFL after the 2010 season, hitting .333 with an astounding 15/22 K/BB rate. The one negative in Arizona was an abject lack of power, with just 2 2B and no homers during his stint there.
Heading into 2011, Rizzotti made his first appearance on various preseason prospect rankings, showing up at 26th in BA, and 20th from John Sickels.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of the player’s raw tools. The grades are based on the 20-80 scouting scale. To understand more about this, check out this page. In addition to the individual grades, I’ve included an Overall Future Projection grade which is a summary that gives an idea of what the player’s role is likely to be in the majors, if he gets there.
Hit For Average: 45
Hit For Power: 55
Throwing Arm: 40
Summary: Rizzotti’s strikeout rate has hovered around 25% at the upper minors, which means he’s like a .260ish hitter in the majors. He has shown an ability to draw a walk, which helps offset the lack of contact. He posted a strong ISO at AA in 2011, but was repeating the level. Outside of his patience and power, he has zero defensive/baserunning value and is a below average defender even at 1B. His bat is likely not good enough to be a full time DH, which means his career is likely as a bench player/4A guy.
Updated: 06 March 2011