Journal class

AJ Izzi has notable potential on the mound

AJ Izzi has flown under the radar at times with teammate Noah Schultz, a left-handed pitcher who is considered one of the best prep arms in the 2022 class. Even though Schultz ran out of time this spring, Izzi gave scouts a reason to travel to Oswego, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago.

The senior right-handed pitcher from Oswego East High School, Illinois has incredible throwing sense, displaying a mix of three-pitch quality and a loose, athletic delivery. Over the past few months, his success and development have led him to receive increased interest in the MLB Draft.

Scouts are projecting Izzi as a potential top-three pick in the July draft. Schultz will likely hear his name called in the second round, giving Oswego East perhaps two of the best prep pitchers in this year’s draft class.

“When I throw, I don’t really notice it,” Izzi said. “When Noah throws, I see him, and it’s crazy to see all those scouts out there.”

Izzi is a 6-foot-3, 165-pound right-handed pitcher who throws a two-seam, slider, and circle-changing fastball from a three-quarter high arm lunge and clean, effortless delivery.

The right-handed pitcher relies primarily on his fastball and slider combination. His fastball is in the 90s and hits 96 mph with some movement. He is extremely projectable and should add more speed to his fastball as he physically matures.

Izzi tunnels his slider well off his fastball. This is a sharp breaking pitch with a late move. He improved the pitch from last summer, tweaking the grip and making minor mechanical tweaks to be consistent with it.

“My best skill is my ability to tunnel all my throws from the same arm angle and keep a repetitive arm motion on every throw,” Izzi said. “I don’t give what I throw away, which helps me.”

This offseason, Izzi wants to refine his switch so he can serve as a reliable supply at the top tier. He didn’t rely on the court throughout his high school career. His change features fading action and the potential to be a quality offering once he uses it consistently.

“I really want to work on my change,” Izzi said. “I want to have this and throw it whenever I can.”

While Izzi is a legitimate draft prospect, he is also a Wichita State commit. He signed with the Shockers as a junior in September 2020.

Former MLB manager Eric Wedge has just completed his third year at the helm of the Shockers program. Mike Pelfrey, who had a 12-year MLB career, was Wichita State’s pitching coach for four years.

Wichita State’s coaching staff stood out to Izzi throughout the recruiting process. He liked the vision of the staff program and knew the coaches would prepare him for a major league career after college.

“I thought these were the guys who would help me get to where I want to be,” Izzi said. “The culture they initiate there stood out. They also hope to win another championship in the next few years. It’s something I want to be part of. »

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Dan Zielinski III covered the MLB Draft for seven years. He interviewed 356 top draft prospects during that span, including four No. 1 overall picks. Several publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, and The Arizona Republic, cited his work, while he appeared on radio stations as an “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.