Mariners News: M’s Select High School 3B Joe Rizzo in Second Round


The Seattle Mariners doubled up on offense, picking 3B Joe Rizzo in the second round of the 2016 MLB draft after getting Kyle Lewis in round one. 

The Mariners selected Joe Rizzo out of Oakton High School in Oak Hill, VA in the second round (50th overall pick) of the MLB draft on Thursday night. Rizzo is an undersized third baseman, but his skill in the batters box rivals any high school player in the country.

Rizzo is an impressive young man, and he communicates his love of baseball through the blue collar style he plays the game with. He excelled on the diamond and in the classroom during high school, registering a 3.86 GPA. Rizzo is currently committed to attend the University of South Carolina, but that will likely change now that the Mariners have selected him so high.

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The 18-year-old is truly a gifted offensive player. Rizzo was named a Rawlings-Perfect Game All-American after posting a .392 batting average with 4 home runs and 12 RBI during his senior year at Oakton High in 2016. He bats from the left side and throws right-handed.

Rizzo can definitely hit, but the question is where will he fit on defense. He is listed as a third baseman, but many scouts don’t think he will defend the hot corner in the big leagues. Some have floated the idea of transitioning Rizzo behind the plate, while others believe his best fit could be at second base or left field.

Rizzo is said to possess a high baseball IQ, and the idea of moving him to catcher is an intriguing one. However, his advanced bat might tempt Jerry Dipoto and his staff to try him out in left field. It could take a few years for Rizzo to learn to catch, but he could be in the big leagues a lot sooner if he shifts to the less stressful spot in left field. ranked Rizzo as the 40th best prospect in the draft, and provided the following scouting report on the newest Mariner:

"“Few question Rizzo’s ability to swing the bat. The Virginia high school standout’s size and lack of profile, however, have made him a bit of a polarizing prospect among scouts. The left-handed hitting third baseman can flat-out rake as possibly the best pure hitter in his area. He barrels balls up consistently and has some power to go along with it. Everything else, though, is a bit of a question mark. Scouts have seen Rizzo play an adequate third base, but there is far from consensus that he can stay there, meaning he’d have to move to first or perhaps to left field, though the jury is still out over whether he’s athletic enough for such a move. He’s under six feet tall and doesn’t have much projection to him, so he kind of is what he is at this point. Rizzo does get plus grades for his makeup, which should help as teams consider him. A team that really believes the bat will profile at any corner position is the one that will take the South Carolina commit off the board early on in the Draft.”"

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The real question with Joe Rizzo is regarding his size, or lack thereof. He is only 5’9 and weighs in at 194 pounds. Rizzo’s weight is good for an 18-year-old, but he lacks ideal definition. He may not be the biggest of prospects physically, but there is no measurement for heart, which is something Rizzo has in spades.

Former Mariners’ second baseman, Harold Reynolds, compared Rizzo to Kyle Schwarber during MLB Network’s coverage of the draft. Reynolds suggested that both players hit from the left side of the plate, and both possess nice combinations of hitting ability and athleticism.

The shaggy haired Rizzo is a personable young man, and he plays the game with charisma. Being that he is a high schooler, look for Rizzo to begin his professional career with the Mariners’ affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League. It could be a few years before Rizzo graces Safeco Field, but if he can hit in the minor-leagues, he could find his way to Seattle earlier.

Next: M’s Get Steal of the Draft, Select Kyle Lewis at #11

The selection of Joe Rizzo signals the conclusion of day 1 for the Mariners. Rounds 3-10 of the 2016 MLB Draft will begin on Friday morning at 10 am PT. Make sure to keep checking back with SoDo Mojo, as we will be providing coverage of all the picks made by the M’s tomorrow.