Mazzoni Back To Business

BINGHAMTON, NY - 2012 was a solid year for Binghamton Mets pitcher Cory Mazzoni. It was his first full professional season, and while he pitched well, there is still a lot of work he must do to force his way into the big leagues. Mazzoni came into camp this spring ready and eager to put up a strong 2013 season and to continue to make progress as a prospect.

Binghamton pitching coach and former major league pitcher Glenn Abbott had nothing but praise for his young prospect.

"Cory should be able to put some pressure on New York to check him out," Abbott said. "I expect that out of him. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see him in New York this season."

Mazzoni is considered by most to be a solid prospect for the big league team. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Mazzoni is on the small side for starting pitchers, though he does offer a fastball that reaches the mid-90's, and has even been clocked at a blistering 97. He also features a slider and a split-change.

Last year was a tale of two seasons for the young right hander. In twelve starts for single-A St. Lucie, Mazzoni posted a solid 3.25 ERA, earning himself a call-up to Double-A Binghamton where he struggled somewhat down the stretch in comparison, posting a 4.46 ERA in 14 starts.

Mazzoni's manager, Pedro Lopez, attributed his pitcher's struggles to the adjustment between leagues.

"Yeah he did [struggle], but I think it was just an adjustment, coming from A-Ball to Double-A, [there are] better hitters," Lopez said. "He was just getting used to the league.

"His first couple starts were really good starts and then after that, the league made an adjustment against him."

"The hitters were a lot more patient and polished than they were in St. Lucie and they don't chase as much," Mazzoni agreed.

His struggles down the stretch may also have been due to simply being tired, as he totaled 144.1 innings pitched in his first professional season.

Mazzoni admitted to having broken down a bit as the season wore on, but attributed it to adjusting to the professional five-day rotation, a big step from the seven-day rotation he was used to in college.

His size as a starter may have also been a factor in his struggles, as smaller pitchers tend to be less durable as the season wears on. Manager Pedro Lopez did not think so.

"I don't think size has got anything to do with it," Lopez opined. "I think that the one thing that could have played a big impact was [his workload], so once again, it's one of those things that last year he got his feet wet. For the first time he pitched a full season."

Another knock against Mazzoni in 2012 was his lack of strikeouts, as his strikeout rates at both levels were less than 7 K/9. At the same time, however, Cory managed to put up solid control numbers, walking just 2.2 batters per nine innings at both levels, impressive numbers for any pitcher, let alone a 23-year old.

"I just don't want to walk people," Mazzoni said flatly. "I just want to throw strikes, let the defense work for me. I think the strikeouts will come, it just hasn't been a big a part of my game."

There is no argument with that logic. As long as a pitcher can keep the balls in the ballpark and limit the free passes, he has a good chance of success at any level.

Mazzoni has done much to prepare for a strong follow up to his 2012 campaign. He came into camp strong and ready to put up great numbers. Pitching coach Glenn Abbot was impressed with what he has seen from Mazzoni in the young season.

"I only saw him about three starts in spring but I know that… he opened up a lot of eyes, and when he came down [to minor league camp], he basically continued to do the same… [I see] a lot of improvement from last year, the consistency in his delivery and rhythm. He had a lot of flaws which he seemed to work out over the offseason," Abbot said.

Mazzoni had a strong Spring Training, and Lopez believes that getting some innings against Major League hitting will help him thrive in a full season at Double-A and in the future.

"I think he's going to have a better year just because of what he was able to do in big league camp," Lopez said. "He faced better hitters than he's going to face this year… I think he's going to have a good year and hopefully this will be the year that he turns the corner and makes himself a Major League pitcher."

That success in spring has carried over to this young season. In Mazzoni's first start, he went five innings, allowing just one unearned run on four hits, striking out seven and walking none. In his second start, he looked just as good. He faced the minimum through three innings before rain interrupted his fourth inning of work.

Mazzoni was able to command his fastball and use his secondary pitches to keep hitters off-balance. When asked about his first few outings, Mazzoni mentioned his improved changeup, and his pitching coach agreed, calling it a "real put-away pitch."

Abbott mentioned that there is a noticeable difference in Mazzoni's changeup, both in its downward movement and in its consistency.

Becoming more consistent with his pitches is something that Mazzoni and his coaches all agreed would be key to his success.

"Especially as a starter you need at least a good three-pitch mix and there were times last year when my change up wasn't on," Mazzoni admitted. "It was really tough for me to go through the order more than two or three times so I think this year if I [have] three consistent pitches, it's going to help me go through the order more than once and keep hitters off balance."

Abbott and Lopez were more interested in seeing Mazzoni develop more consistent command with that hard fastball.

"I think what makes any pitcher a good one is the fastball command," Lopez added. "The good thing about Cory is that at such a young age he's able to command his secondary pitches. That slider and changeup; they're pretty good pitches for him.

"He can throw them at any time in the count, and when [a pitcher has] that kind of control with his secondary pitches, it makes it easier for him to go three times [through the order]. Hopefully his fastball command is there because that's what is going to put him in the big leagues."

Abbott was optimistic about Mazzoni's ability to do so. He pointed to flaws in his delivery, namely in his timing and rhythm, that he thinks have been over the offseason. Abbott believes that Mazzoni's smooth, repeatable delivery will allow him to continue to improve his fastball command.

Both manager Pedro Lopez and Abbott seemed convinced that Mazzoni could end up in the majors as soon as the end of the 2013 season.

Lopez believes that Mazzoni's work ethic will help him force his way into New York.

"He's a true professional and goes about his business as good as anyone I've seen, so hopefully he can continue to do what he's doing and he can stay healthy.

"Now he's into his second full season so hopefully this will be the year that he can turn the corner and make himself a big league pitcher."

As for Mazzoni himself, he just wants to go about his business and let whatever happens happen.

"I don't really have any [expectations]. I just want to be more consistent this year, and I feel like if I do that, good things can happen," Mazzoni concluded.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nBinghamton pitching coach and former major league pitcher Glenn Abbott had nothing but praise for his young prospect.
\r\n
\r\n\"Cory should be able to put some pressure on New York to check him out,\" Abbott said. \"I expect that out of him. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see him in New York this season.\"
\r\n
\r\nMazzoni is considered by most to be a solid prospect for the big league team. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Mazzoni is on the small side for starting pitchers, though he does offer a fastball that reaches the mid-90's, and has even been clocked at a blistering 97. He also features a slider and a split-change.
\r\n
\r\nLast year was a tale of two seasons for the young right hander. In twelve starts for single-A St. Lucie, Mazzoni posted a solid 3.25 ERA, earning himself a call-up to Double-A Binghamton where he struggled somewhat down the stretch in comparison, posting a 4.46 ERA in 14 starts.
\r\n
\r\nMazzoni's manager, Pedro Lopez, attributed his pitcher's struggles to the adjustment between leagues.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yeah he did [struggle], but I think it was just an adjustment, coming from A-Ball to Double-A, [there are] better hitters,\" Lopez said. \"He was just getting used to the league.
\r\n
\r\n\"His first couple starts were really good starts and then after that, the league made an adjustment against him.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"The hitters were a lot more patient and polished than they were in St. Lucie and they don't chase as much,\" Mazzoni agreed.
\r\n
\r\nHis struggles down the stretch may also have been due to simply being tired, as he totaled 144.1 innings pitched in his first professional season.
\r\n
\r\nMazzoni admitted to having broken down a bit as the season wore on, but attributed it to adjusting to the professional five-day rotation, a big step from the seven-day rotation he was used to in college.
\r\n
\r\nHis size as a starter may have also been a factor in his struggles, as smaller pitchers tend to be less durable as the season wears on. Manager Pedro Lopez did not think so.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't think size has got anything to do with it,\" Lopez opined. \"I think that the one thing that could have played a big impact was [his workload], so once again, it's one of those things that last year he got his feet wet. For the first time he pitched a full season.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnother knock against Mazzoni in 2012 was his lack of strikeouts, as his strikeout rates at both levels were less than 7 K/9. At the same time, however, Cory managed to put up solid control numbers, walking just 2.2 batters per nine innings at both levels, impressive numbers for any pitcher, let alone a 23-year old.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just don't want to walk people,\" Mazzoni said flatly. \"I just want to throw strikes, let the defense work for me. I think the strikeouts will come, it just hasn't been a big a part of my game.\"
\r\n
\r\nThere is no argument with that logic. As long as a pitcher can keep the balls in the ballpark and limit the free passes, he has a good chance of success at any level.
\r\n
\r\nMazzoni has done much to prepare for a strong follow up to his 2012 campaign. He came into camp strong and ready to put up great numbers. Pitching coach Glenn Abbot was impressed with what he has seen from Mazzoni in the young season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I only saw him about three starts in spring but I know that… he opened up a lot of eyes, and when he came down [to minor league camp], he basically continued to do the same… [I see] a lot of improvement from last year, the consistency in his delivery and rhythm. He had a lot of flaws which he seemed to work out over the offseason,\" Abbot said.
\r\n
\r\nMazzoni had a strong Spring Training, and Lopez believes that getting some innings against Major League hitting will help him thrive in a full season at Double-A and in the future.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think he's going to have a better year just because of what he was able to do in big league camp,\" Lopez said. \"He faced better hitters than he's going to face this year… I think he's going to have a good year and hopefully this will be the year that he turns the corner and makes himself a Major League pitcher.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat success in spring has carried over to this young season. In Mazzoni's first start, he went five innings, allowing just one unearned run on four hits, striking out seven and walking none. In his second start, he looked just as good. He faced the minimum through three innings before rain interrupted his fourth inning of work.
\r\n
\r\nMazzoni was able to command his fastball and use his secondary pitches to keep hitters off-balance. When asked about his first few outings, Mazzoni mentioned his improved changeup, and his pitching coach agreed, calling it a \"real put-away pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nAbbott mentioned that there is a noticeable difference in Mazzoni's changeup, both in its downward movement and in its consistency.
\r\n
\r\nBecoming more consistent with his pitches is something that Mazzoni and his coaches all agreed would be key to his success.
\r\n
\r\n\"Especially as a starter you need at least a good three-pitch mix and there were times last year when my change up wasn't on,\" Mazzoni admitted. \"It was really tough for me to go through the order more than two or three times so I think this year if I [have] three consistent pitches, it's going to help me go through the order more than once and keep hitters off balance.\"
\r\n
\r\nAbbott and Lopez were more interested in seeing Mazzoni develop more consistent command with that hard fastball.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think what makes any pitcher a good one is the fastball command,\" Lopez added. \"The good thing about Cory is that at such a young age he's able to command his secondary pitches. That slider and changeup; they're pretty good pitches for him.
\r\n
\r\n\"He can throw them at any time in the count, and when [a pitcher has] that kind of control with his secondary pitches, it makes it easier for him to go three times [through the order]. Hopefully his fastball command is there because that's what is going to put him in the big leagues.\"
\r\n
\r\nAbbott was optimistic about Mazzoni's ability to do so. He pointed to flaws in his delivery, namely in his timing and rhythm, that he thinks have been over the offseason. Abbott believes that Mazzoni's smooth, repeatable delivery will allow him to continue to improve his fastball command.
\r\n
\r\nBoth manager Pedro Lopez and Abbott seemed convinced that Mazzoni could end up in the majors as soon as the end of the 2013 season.
\r\n
\r\nLopez believes that Mazzoni's work ethic will help him force his way into New York.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a true professional and goes about his business as good as anyone I've seen, so hopefully he can continue to do what he's doing and he can stay healthy.
\r\n
\r\n\"Now he's into his second full season so hopefully this will be the year that he can turn the corner and make himself a big league pitcher.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs for Mazzoni himself, he just wants to go about his business and let whatever happens happen.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't really have any [expectations]. I just want to be more consistent this year, and I feel like if I do that, good things can happen,\" Mazzoni concluded.
\r\n
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