Mazzoni Excited About Opportunity

With their second round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, the Mets selected NC State pitcher Cory Mazzoni. In this Q&A, Mazzoni talks about his repertoire, his final year at NC State, his thoughts on one day playing in New York and more.

Inside Pitch: First off, congratulations on being selected by the Mets. This is no doubt a big moment for your career and your life. Can you give some insight into what you thought when your name popped up?

Cory Mazzoni: For a while, I didn't know where I was going to go. Then when the Mets called me, it was like confirmation on a dream come true. Getting drafted is something I've been working toward since I was five years old. Overall, it's just really exciting. I can't wait to get started.

Inside Pitch: Was it a surprise to that it was the Mets that selected you? Did you and the Mets have any discussions leading up to the draft?

Mazzoni: Yea the Mets seemed to be the highest on me. I guess they had me as a high as a supplemental pick, but I was happy to be taken in the second or third round if that's what it came to. It was a good sighting. There weren't too many surprises, but I'm happy where I ended up.

Inside Pitch: Can you give a brief look at what your last collegiate season was like? What kind of things did you focus on – as sort of a final preparation -- to get you to this point?

Mazzoni: I just worked on getting on my body stronger, getting my arm stronger, but I also focused on developing a fourth pitch. I also worked on my fastball command to limit my walks, which is something I'll need to do at the next level. I feel like that was really coming around my last few starts. I threw the ball well down the stretch, kept the ball down. I had a good feel for my slider specifically, but I felt like I had a good feel for all of my pitches. I hated to see our season so soon, but I'm definitely excited to start my pro career as soon as possible.

Inside Pitch: How would you say you approach a start or approach a lineup?

Mazzoni: I feel like I work off my fastball. I have a good fastball so I use that to establish myself. I really like to challenge hitters with it. I have to quality breaking pitches that I use late in counts, especially when I'm ahead in the count. I don't take any hitter lightly. I want to make it a challenge for every hitter. I go after hitters with the best stuff I can. I want to work ahead in the count and down in the zone.

Inside Pitch: Is there something specific, perhaps a specific pitch, that you think you will focus on first when you get to the next level?

Mazzoni: Definitely goes back to developing that fourth pitch – the changeup. I'm going to work on my splitter some more. I started throwing the splitter this year and it's showed glimpses of being a good pitch for me. My changeup was average, so I definitely think I'm going to work on both of those pitches and turn one into a solid fourth pitch. Either one would give me more depth to my repertoire.

Inside Pitch: How was your fastball clocked this year?

Mazzoni: I hit 97 mph in my last start, but I usually sit around 92-93 MPH, in the low-90s the whole game. If I reach back for it, I can get up to 95-97 mph.

Inside Pitch: Going back to being selected by the Mets, obviously being chosen by this organization comes with the prospects of one day possibly playing in New York. Has that consideration crossed your mind? What do you think about possibly getting to play on that stage one day?

Mazzoni: It would be a great honor to play in New York for this organization. I grew up near Pittsburgh so I have a familiarity with the whole area. I've been to New York and played in Yankee Stadium [pre-draft workouts]. I've been around the area. It's a great opportunity for me, and I'm really excited about the idea of one day playing for the Mets.

Inside Pitch: As for your immediate plans, it sounds like you're ready to get started. Have the Mets given you any feel for where or how you may start your career?

Mazzoni: I'm not really sure. We haven't discussed much of that. I see myself as a starter. I think I could be a reliever, but I really like starting. But I'll be pleased with whatever role they believe is best for me. I just want the chance to play and help the organization win.

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