6/8/2013 12:04 A.M. ET
Mets keep it in the family with Mazzilli's son
By Chris Iseman / MLB.com
Sitting in his father's office, L.J. Mazzilli watched the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, waiting for his name to be called. His father, Lee, sat there with him, anticipating the moment when his son could feel the same emotions he felt 40 years ago.
During the fourth round, L.J.'s name was called. Not only could he share the emotions his father felt all those years ago as a Brooklyn teenager, but he could also share the same team.
The Mets drafted L.J. Mazzilli, a second baseman from the University of Connecticut, with the 116th overall pick. Lee was drafted by the Mets in first round of the 1973 Draft. As soon as L.J.'s name was called on Friday, excitement and pride swept up both father and son.
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon called L.J. immediately to welcome the next member of the Mazzilli family to the Mets organization.
"I am so grateful for this opportunity from the New York Mets and from Jeff Wilpon," L.J. said. "I am so excited to start whenever I do start, and work hard and try to bring another Mazzilli to the Mets."
L.J. finished his senior season at UConn with a .354 average, six home runs and 51 RBIs.
He was the first college player the Mets selected in this year's Draft, after they selected four high school players through the first three rounds.
L.J. doesn't have tremendous power, but should still be able to hit a decent amount of home runs in the pros, while also collecting plenty of doubles. The 6-foot, 190-pound Mazzilli also has great speed on the basepaths. He stole 29 bases out of 33 attempts as a senior at UConn.
"A high performance college player," said Tommy Tanous, the Mets' director of amateur scouting. "He's going to add a tremendous amount of offense to the system."
And L.J.'s father Lee was a popular player for the Mets in his own playing days. He was called up to the Major League team in 1976. He would go on to play parts of 10 seasons with the Mets in two separate stints during his 14-year Major League career.
L.J. said his father often spoke about the day he was called up to the Major Leagues, greeting then-Mets manager Joe Torre at Wrigley Field. And Lee often reminisced about winning a championship with the Mets.
Now L.J. has the chance to make his own memories, and tell his own stories to Lee.
"This is a very happy moment for me as a dad, to see my son, 40 years after I was drafted, go to a team that I grew up in," Lee said. "I'm a very, very proud dad."
Lee later became a coach for the Yankees, before managing the Baltimore Orioles in 2004 and most of 2005 before being dismissed in early August of that season.
He is currently a member of the Yankees' front office, and now he gets to watch his son try and become the next member of the family to reach the Major Leagues with their cross-town rival.
"I work for the New York Yankees. My son now works for the New York Mets," Lee said. "A dad cannot be happier to be part of two great organizations in this city, in New York, and growing up in this city. It's absolutely amazing. It's wonderful, it's a wonderful feeling."
L.J. has been on the radar of Major League teams in the past.
The Minnesota Twins drafted L.J. in the ninth round of the 2012 Draft, but he opted to remain at Connecticut for his senior season. L.J. said it was a tough decision to return to school last year instead of signing with the Twins.
But in the past year at Connecticut, he said he learned some important aspects of the game that helped him move up five rounds in the Draft.
"But the way that I think I improved is with characteristics off the field that really helped me on the field," L.J. said. "That being said, approaching the game with more enthusiasm, trying to hold more leadership roles with the team, and more going on the field, trusting my abilities."
L.J. said he doesn't feel the pressure of having to live up to his father's legacy with the Mets, and is instead looking forward to building his own career as a New York Met.
"I'm looking forward to making my own name out there and carrying my last name with a lot of pride from what my father was able to accomplish in his career," L.J. said, "and then take my own career as it comes in my own hands."
Mets take OF Wilson with first pick of third round
At the end of Day 2 of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, the Mets looked at their new group of players with significant satisfaction. As each round passed, they found themselves taking players they were legitimately pleased to welcome to the organization.
"Just like any Draft day, we sort of alternate between excitement and disappointment. You never get every player you want, but you get really excited when you get one of the guys you do," said Paul DePodesta, the Mets vice president of player development and amateur scouting. "Fortunately for us today, I think we got more than our share of excitement. It really went well for us."
The Mets continued their stretch of drafting high school players in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft by selecting Ivan Wilson in the third round on Friday with the 76th overall pick.
An outfielder from Ruston High School in Louisiana, Wilson has good power and can hit home runs to any part of the ballpark. This past season, he hit .383 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs.
"Really a unique mix of power and speed," said Tommy Tanous, the Mets' director of amateur scouting. "As close to a five-tool athlete as you're going to find."
Wilson's combination of tools and athleticism was among the best of this year's prep outfielders. He is listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds with good strength and plus speed.
He takes advantage of his power-speed combination thanks to good instincts on the basepaths. Wilson has excellent range in the outfield and a strong enough arm to play right field if he can't stay in center.
Wilson is committed to play for Grambling if he doesn't end up signing for the Mets.
The Mets went on to select Casey Meisner out of Cypress Woods High School in Texas just eight picks after Wilson. Meisner is a 6-foot-7, 185-pound right-hander who has a fastball that sits around 90 mph consistently, but could reach 94 mph as he continues to develop.
The Mets also drafted a college player whose family has some history with the organization. New York selected UConn second baseman L.J. Mazzilli in the fourth round. He's the son of former Mets fan favorite Lee Mazzilli.
L.J. was the first college player the Mets took in the Draft.
In the fifth round, the Mets drafted Jared King, a switch-hitting left-fielder from Kansas State. King's a solid hitter who has the potential to hit for both average and power.
The Mets drafted Champ Stuart in the sixth round. Stuart is a center fielder from Brevard College in North Carolina. A native of the Bahamas, Stuart is still learning the game and is considered a work in progress. But he has some raw tools that will help him continue to develop in the pros.
In the seventh round, the Mets drafted a power-hitting first baseman from the University of Oklahoma. Matt Oberste has impressive numbers this season, as he's hitting .376 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs.
The eighth round brought Ricky Knapp to the Mets. The son of former Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp, Ricky has a tremendous feel for pitching and an impressive arsenal.
In the ninth round, the Mets drafted Patrick Biondi, a left-handed-hitting outfielder out of Michigan who is a top-of-the-order hitter with plenty of speed.
Wrapping up Day 2, the Mets selected Luis Guillorme, a slick-fielding shortstop from Coral Springs Charter High School in Florida.
Day 3 of the Draft continues with Rounds 11-40 streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. ET.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
In the pipeline:
The Mets have good pitching in the system, with such players as Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaad. In this year's Draft, the Mets brought on some talented position players to supplant those high-quality pitchers.
Wilson gives the Mets a solid, power-hitting outfielder who has good speed on the basepaths. Only two of their current top 20 prospects are outfielders. Overall, the Mets drafted four outfielders through the first 10 rounds. They've very high on the ability of Jared King, who gives them another power-hitting outfielder for the future. Patrick Biondi doesn't fit the bill of a power hitter, but he's a quick, hit-for-average-type outfielder who could fit nicely at the top of the lineup down the line.
With the selection of Matt Oberste, the Mets have two good first basemen from the Draft. Dominic Smith is more of an RBI type, whereas Oberste possesses plenty of power.
The Mets also managed to mix in a couple of good pitchers. Casey Meisner is a big right-hander, and if he adds some muscle to his lanky frame, he could develop into a quality power pitcher. Ricky Knapp, with his formidable arsenal, gives the organization another quality pitcher. Both Meisner and Knapp add to a nice foundation of pitching in the organization.
Mets add righty Meisner in third round
Casey Meisner is a rare Texas pitcher who remains projectable. The Mets drafted the lanky right-hander out of Cypress Woods High School with the 84th pick in the third round on Friday.
Meisner is listed at 6-foot-7, 185 pounds, and has a fastball that's touched 94 mph while typically sitting at around 90 mph. But as Meisner continues to mature and develop, scouts expect that fastball to hit 94 mph consistently, rather than only occasionally.
He also throws a solid curveball and changeup, both of which are capable of becoming quality Major League offerings in the future.
"An extremely projectable young man," said Tommy Tanous, the Mets' director of amateur scouting. "A strike thrower with a three-pitch mix, the curveball being a big part of his arsenal."
Meisner has clean arm action, but does struggle to repeat his delivery, which affects his command and velocity. But for a pitcher of his size, that's not necessarily uncommon.
Meisner is signed on to play for Texas Tech in the event he doesn't end up signing with the Mets.
Mets get solid performer in King
The Mets selected Jared King, a switch-hitting left-fielder from Kansas State, in the fifth round.
King has good tools across the board, but his best tool is his bat. He's put up some impressive numbers this season for the Wildcats, hitting .327 with six home runs and 51 RBIs. He also has 15 doubles.
Mets director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said the Mets were surprised to see King still on the board when their fifth-round pick came around.
"I think Jared King, we were really pleasantly surprised we were able to get him in the fifth round," Tanous said. "He was a guy who was on our big board, meaning he was on a pretty short list of players. We were excited to get him."
In his collegiate career, King is hitting .339 with 21 home runs, 138 RBIs, 42 doubles and eight triples.
As he continues to develop, he has the chance to hit for both average and power. King has tremendous bat speed, he has a short stroke from both sides of the plate, and the ball carries off his bat.
He's an average runner, so he might be better suited for a corner outfield spot. His arm isn't too strong, so remaining in left field might be best for King.
Mets take Stuart out of Brevard College
A native of the Bahamas, Champ Stuart played three sports at Christ School in Asheville, N.C., before heading to Brevard (N.C.) College. Brevard is a Division II school and off the beaten path for scouts, but the Mets took notice of Stuart.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Stuart is a special athlete who is still learning the game and has some raw tools. His swing is a work in progress, but he generates good bat speed. His tools profile best as a top-of-the-order hitter where his speed can play up.
Mets director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said Stuart is probably the fastest player in the Draft, and would be one of the fastest players in the Mets' organization.
Tanous also said Stuart is a pretty unique player.
"Not your typical speed guy, whereas this guy has some size and some strength to him," Tanous said.
He hit .300 for Brevard this season, with five home runs and 13 RBIs. He showed some impressive speed on the basepaths, finishing with 39 stolen bases in 42 attempts.
Stuart has a solid arm and can play right or center field, though he needs to improve his reads.
Heralded Oberste selected by Mets
The Mets drafted Oklahoma junior first baseman Matt Oberste in the seventh round.
At 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Oberste has good power, leading the Sooners this season with 11 home runs. He's currently hitting .376 average with 60 RBIs, leading the team in both categories. Oberste also set a school record with a 30-game hitting streak this season.
"Power, hit, low-strikeout guy," said Tommy Tanous, the Mets' director of amateur scouting. "Really has a chance to be a plus hitter in the organization."
Oberste transferred to Oklahoma after playing at Connors State College in 2011, where he had a tremendous season. Oberste hit .418 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs. He was among the top 10 in the nation in both homers and RBIs.
As a senior at Sallisaw (Okla.) High School, Oberste was named Male Athlete of the Year by the state coaches association. He excelled in three sports in high school but didn't receive any Division I scholarship offers, and instead attended Connors State.
Oberste is athletic enough to play the outfield, but arm injuries will limit him to first base as a professional.
Draftee Knapp brings professional coaching
Growing up, right-hander Ricky Knapp learned how to pitch from a professional. The instruction of his father, former Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp, shaped his development into the next Florida Gulf Coast product to be taken in the First-Year Player Draft.
Knapp has the kind of feel for the game and pitchability that might be expected for the son of a pitching coach. He adds and subtracts from his fastball as the situation dictates, but generally throws around 90 mph. He also throws a changeup, which is his best pitch, as well as a curveball and a slider.
As a junior this season, he made the Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team behind a 9-3 record and 2.10 ERA. In three seasons with the Eagles, he went 23-8 with a 2.92 ERA in 283 1/3 innings.
Knapp commands his whole arsenal well, and all four of his pitches have a chance to be at least Major League-average offerings.
In Biondi, Mets pick leadoff-type hitter
College seniors got a lot of attention in last year's Draft, as teams took many of them early to be creative with the new bonus pool system. That worked to Patrick Biondi's benefit, whose speed and defensive ability contributed to his position.
"Left-handed hitting, speed center fielder, get on base type of guy," said Tommy Tanous, the Mets' director of amateur scouting. "Might be slight of build a little bit, but this is your top-of-the-order type of hitter."
Biondi is a Brett Gardner type -- a left-handed hitter who sprays line drives and uses his speed to get on and then wreak havoc on the basepaths. The Cape Cod League batting champion is also an excellent defender and can no doubt stay in center field at the next level. He batted .309 with 51 hits and 16 RBIs in 50 games for the Michigan Wolverines. He also broke the Big Ten record with six stolen bases in his final game.
The only thing Biondi doesn't have is power, but he has the chance to be a leadoff-type hitter who can affect the game with his legs as much as with his bat and glove.
Guillorme's glove at short excites Mets
The Mets drafted Luis Guillorme, a shortstop from Coral Springs Charter High School, in the 10th round.
A native of Venezuela, Guillorme came to the United States as a teenager. He's a slick-fielding shortstop, following in the tradition of excellent Venezuelan shortstops.
He's one of the best defenders in the Draft class, and Mets director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said the Mets have paid attention to Guillorme for a while.
"We've had him work out in the past," Tanuous said. "We watched him play this spring. Really a fun guy to watch defensively."
Guillorme has plus range, a plus arm, and is capable of making every play asked of a shortstop.
Offensively, he makes a lot of contact with an inside-out swing. While he has minimal power and is a below-average runner, his glove will carry him as a professional.
Guillorme committed to play for the State Junior College of Florida.
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.