The son of former player and manager Lee Mazzilli is working his way up the Mets’ farm system.
L.J. Mazzilli was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft out of the University of Connecticut.
In 2014, Mazzilli played in two levels of Class-A ball, Savannah and then the higher-A club, Port St. Lucie of the Florida State League.
He’s a contact hitter with a .301 batting average, 11 homeruns and drove in 79 RBIs in 505 at-bats. Mazzilli also earned 44 extra-base hits in his debut season.
After September call-ups, he jumped up two levels to Triple-A Las Vegas. He only played one game with the squad and managed just one hit.
The Mets then sent Mazzilli to play in the Arizona Fall League, which usually means the player is held in high regard by the organization. The right-handed batter hit .306 with a homerun and seven RBIs in 49 at-bats.
He most likely won’t be a homerun hitter, but he can hit and has solid on-base skills. Mazzilli stole 14 bases last season.
There are two areas of concern for the second baseman.
Mazzilli’s fielding is not extraordinary; however, he has shown improvement and it is possible he can stay at the position. There is also a chance he could be moved to the outfield if needed.
Second, Mazzilli has been dealing with some off the field issues in regards to drug abuse. In December, he was suspended for 50 games due to violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for the second time.
According to the program, drugs of abuse are not performance-enhancing drugs. Unlike performance enhancing drugs, such as steroids, drugs of abuse could range from marijuana to cocaine to ecstasy.
Mazzilli was diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and has openly spoken about how it affects his ability to play baseball. He said he struggles to concentrate during games and is easily distracted.
While it is possible there could be a connection between the disorder and the drug abuse, the MLB did not announce which drug Mazzilli was caught using.
The squad still has high hopes for the son of former Mets’ 1986 World Series Champ Lee Mazzilli who spent 10 seasons with the organization. He was a Met All-Star in 1979 and went on to coach the Baltimore Orioles later in his career in 2004 and 2005.
Regardless of who L.J. Mazzilli’s father is he will likely still be treated like everyone else. He’s not the first player to follow in his father’s footsteps and will not be the last.
The only thing that could give him a leg up is his father’s coaching, which is evident in the 24-year-old’s smart play-making abilities.
Since L.J. Mazzilli made an appearance in Triple-A already, it’s possible he could get the call up in 2016.
Odds are he won’t be a starter in the next two seasons, but he could see some playing time in the big leagues if he scores impressive numbers in Triple-A ball this season.