Here's another very promising high school hitter for tonight's 2016 MLB Draft; third baseman Joe Rizzo from Oakton High School in Vienna, Virginia. Earlier today we mentioned Drew Mendoza from Minneola, Florida, as one of the safest prep bats in the class but one with signablity and positional questions that impact his draft stock. Rizzo is like Mendoza in those regards, even more so.
We'll start with the bat. Rizzo has a stocky, "mature" body at 5-11, 215, but there's a lot of strength there and left-handed hitters with offensive potential always draw notice. He shows good strike zone judgment and has impressed Showcase circuit observers with the way the ball jumps off his bat, although at present he does not fully tap his strength. Given his hitting instincts it should just be a matter of time until he's producing solid power to go with fine OBP and batting average contributions.
There seems to be little doubt that Rizzo will hit but his position is unclear. He has a pretty decent arm but he isn't the best pure athlete around. His defense at third base is described as "adequate" or "maybe good enough if he hits as expected," but no one seems very confident about that. He doesn't run well enough to be much of an outfielder and is shorter than the typical first baseman.
Rizzo has enough bat to be a first rounder but the questions about his glove, plus a commitment to the University of South Carolina, add uncertainty to his draft position. He could go early to a team comfortable with his glove, or he could slip if clubs determine that he's not worth buying away from college. Like Drew Mendoza, if Rizzo goes to school he should put up big numbers in the NCAA.