Simon Muzziotti was the 2022 Phutre Phillies #14 Pick.
Símon Jose Muzziotti was born in Cumana, Venezuela.
Muzziotti signed as a sixteen-year-old international free agent with the Boston Red Sox during the 2015-16 international signing period. Unfortunately, his bonus was limited to $300K because Boston had overspent during the 2014-15 international signing period. That was the year they blew through their spending limit and signed Yoan Moncada (for $31.5M) and others. Boston’s spending spree prevented them from signing any individual international free agents for more than $300K for the next two signing periods.
Boston opened the 2015-16 international signing period by signing two, highly regarded prospects in Muzziotti and Albert Guaimaro to $300K deals. Both had long been linked to Boston. Both were expected to sign with Boston despite the bonus restrictions. However, it was surprising that Boston could convince both to sign for $300K when it was universally agreed that $300K was considerably below their projected values.
MLB investigated and found that some players linked to the same agent who represented Muzziotti and Guaimaro received money that was destined to compensate Muzziotti and Guaimaro.
MLB penalized the Red Sox for their actions. Muzziotti and several other players were declared free agents.
Boston’s rule violation occurred under general manager Ben Cherington and not president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
Muzziotti then signed with the Phillies with only a portion of his signing bonus counting against the Phillies’ international bonus pool.
Other significant players signed by the Phillies during that signing period were RHP Francisco Morales, SS Brayan Gonzalez (released), SS Nicolas Torres, C Juan Aparicio, and SS Jose Tortolero.
A Red Sox blog at the time quoted one scout comparing Muzziotti to a “young Jacoby Ellsbury”. Muzziotti had been clocked at 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash.
One scouting report stated that Muzziotti’s defensive position was not in question. He was viewed as a center fielder with above-average defensive ability. He fit the mold of a typical center field prospect, with above-average speed, but below-average power. Another scouting report commented that his setup at the plate allowed him to slice balls to the opposite field, but it also left him prone to rolling over balls that he tried to pull. He was ranked anywhere from the 24th best international prospect to the 44th best,
Muzziotti was one of 28 top international prospects showcased in an event sponsored by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball at the United States National Team’s Training Complex in North Carolina before the July 2nd signing date. The team faced varsity teams from local high schools. Among the top players mentioned in a Venezuelan news account were Muzziotti and Rafael Marchan.
2016: Muzziotti had been hitting .317 in 17 games when he was declared a free agent. After signing with the Phillies, he slipped to .231 with their DSL team.
2017: Muzziotti came stateside as an eighteen-year-old. he hit .269 in the GCL and displayed little power as scouts had projected. But, he also played well in the outfield as predicted. Muzziotti made a cameo appearance with the Threshers (Class A+) during extended spring training and went 2 for 7 (.286) with a stolen base and outfield assist.
2018: Muzziof to a great start with Class A Lakewood. He was hitting .304 thru the first 11 games when he sustained an injury. After a brief rehab in the GCL, he returned in mid-June. He finished the season batting .269 but did pick up his first professional HR. He was successful in 18 of 22 steal attempts.
2019: Muzziotti played a full season with High-A Clearwater. He hit a solid .287 in 465 plate appearances. His power played up a little bit as he had 27 XBH among his 122 hirs, 3 were HRs. He drew 32 walks (6.9%) and struck out 60 times (12.9%). I remember being concerned with his base stealing. At one point he was successful on only 7 of 13 attempts. But, he finished 21 for 32 attempts getting caught in his final 3 attempts in the last nine games of the season. He had 6 outfield assists, 4 in center, 2 in right.
2021: The 22-year-old Muzziotti had VISA issues that limited him to 20 games during the 2021 season. He saw action with all five of the Phillies stateside teams, hitting .300 or better until he got to Triple-A Lehigh Valley where he hit .200 in 8 games. He got some extra at bats in the Arizona Fall League where his respectable .254 was over-shadowed by the exploits of Bryson Stott and Logan O’Hoppe. However, like his teammates, Muzziotti showed magnificent plate discipline against top pitching prospects drawing 15 walks in 83 plate appearances (18.1%). He even got to play 5 games with Zulia in his home countries’ winter league.
Prospects Live managed to prepare a pre-season scouting report on Muzziotti.
Physical Description: Average height and lean throughout. Needs to add upper body strength, which has been a criticism since signing. Athletic kid.
Hit: Stands crouched and slightly open. Experimented with his bat position during 2020 Spring Training; began resting the bat on his shoulder rather than keeping his hands high and back. Minimal pre-pitch movement, which has been toned down significantly since signing. Moderate leg kick as he steps into the pitch. Has innate hand-eye coordination and a mostly level swing, but he inconsistently barrels the ball. Tends to get on top of the ball, which produces a significant amount of ground balls as a result. Above-average bat speed but lacks the physical strength to regularly impact the ball. Has strong bat-to-ball skills and fights through at-bats; can be a difficult out when he’s not freely swinging. Can be overly aggressive at times. Comfortable with laying down a bunt and has the speed to beat the throw. Would do well to get the ball in the air with more regularity; without that, he’ll produce an empty batting average. Tool could be better than average in time. Grade: 50
Power: Has fringe-average raw power, which he rarely gets to during games. He produces some natural loft when he drives the ball and shows a feel for using the whole field, but he presently produces too many ground balls. Added strength would serve him well, as would barreling the ball more often. He flashes some gap power, but the power plays below that. Grade: 30
Field: Can cover a lot of ground quickly due to his footspeed. Has some work to do with recognition off the bat, but has the speed to overcome the misreads. It’s plus range in CF. Can make some difficult plays in all directions and shows strong awareness as he backs up against the wall. Could be plus with further refinement. Grade: 55
Arm: Average arm with solid carry from the grass. Accurate with his throws. Plays in CF. Grade: 50
Run: Timed between 4.08 and 4.13 down the line from the left side. Has the speed to take an extra-base on balls hit to the grass. Struggled with getting caught on the basepaths in 2019, but has the speed to steal double-digit bags. Needs to read the pitcher and get a better initial step. Grade: 60
Overall: Muzziotti carries a lot of intrigue because of whatever he could be. However, like many Phillies prospects through the years, he is underdeveloped physically. Added strength would do him well. He has the bat-to-ball skills to eventually be a high-average hitter, which when paired with his plus speed and potentially plus defense, produces a starter ceiling. Without the physical gains and the boost in power it might bring, he’s a likely backup/defensive substitution.
Role: 40 – Below-Average Player: Bench / Platoon
Muzziotti committed 4 errors in center field in 5 minor league seasons for a .992 fielding percentage. He had 26 assists from CF. He could probably play the position for the Phillies tomorrow. But, unless he developed his upper body during the offseason, probably just more of the same offensively.