Kicking off our next group of 5 is the second player ever selected by Jerry Dipoto as the GM of the Seattle Mariners, third baseman Joe Rizzo. The 5’10”, 195 lbs. bat struggled mightily in 2018 at Modesto and was sent back to repeat the level, typically a bad sign.
Thankfully, Rizzo responded well and showed some serious growth in his second stint with Modesto and has earned a promotion to AA-Arkansas for this season. Last year, Rizzo slashed .295/.354/.423 in 129 games, including 30 doubles, 3 triples, and 10 home runs. The power surge was certainly a welcome sign, as was his return to hitting for average and taking walks.
The issue with Rizzo has always been focused on the defensive side of the baseball. Most scouts believed he would eventually hit for average and draw walks, but the power would never be more than 20 home run type of damage. And for a middle of the order defender, that is great. For a corner infielder, it isn’t.
Rizzo has made big strides defensively at third base but isn’t going to wow anybody. He plays first base as well, but his bat doesn’t profile there and in case you haven’t noticed, Evan White is kind of “that guy” right now.
Rizzo isn’t a guy who can handle second base, where the bat would best profile, and the outfield isn’t a great option either. Because of this, and his limited projection, Rizzo needs to hit to have a shot to continue up the ladder.
A continuation of his power surge in Arkansas would be great and could help him climb up our mid-season prospect ranks. But for now, he is a bat without a home and may not be good enough at the former to overpower the latter.