For every draft class with great talent, busts are sure to be found as well. For example, Hall of Famers Calvin Johnson and Joe Thomas were drafted second and third in 2007, right behind Jamarcus Russell. Last week, I wrote about the risers in the 2021 MLB draft class. Today, I will be exploring three 2023 Dynasty Baseball Second Year Prospect Fallers.
Before we get into the players, it should be noted that in no way am I writing these players off as busts just yet. All of these players are too young to fully evaluate them. However, the poor performance of these players in 2022 has led to their stock falling for Dynasty Baseball.
2023 Dynasty Baseball Second Year Prospect Fallers
Frank Mozzicato, LHP, Kansas City Royals.
Some more film from Frank Mozzicato yesterday. Fastball sat 90-91. Showed a solid spinning curve. Repeats his delivery well. Has good deception on pitches. Hit around some yesterday. Has good projection left in the frame and should add velo.#TogetherRoyal pic.twitter.com/6A0vJu9cgv
— Chris Clegg (@RotoClegg) October 15, 2021
Despite throwing a whopping four consecutive no-hitters in high school, many scouts viewed Mozzicato as a reach when the Royals snagged him with the seventh pick in the 2021 draft. However, despite what scouts think, any prospect drafted that high will be expected to be a top performer in the Minor Leagues right away.
This high draft pick makes Mozzicato's poor performance all the more concerning. While I never try to put too much thought into pitcher wins, a 2-6 record isn't what the Royals were hoping for from Mozzicato.
Why was Mozzicato ineffective last year? Even though young players are expected to have control issues, Mozzicato struggled more than most, walking nearly seven batters per nine innings. Walking so many batters constantly puts pressure on the pitcher, leading to further mistakes.
Furthermore, Mozzicato only had two pitches he could really rely on last year: his fastball and curveball. Relievers can get away with two pitches, but starters really need at least three reliable pitches. While Mozzicato's curve is a very good breaking ball, he won't be effective as long as it is his only one.
Mozzicato's fastball rarely blows by hitters either. Via Mlb.com, "Mozzicato’s velocity used to sit in the upper-80s, but after working out at Cressey Sports Performance, he came out last spring throwing 91-93 mph consistently." When a pitcher throws in the low 90's, great control is needed to be effective, which Mozzicato does not have.
Despite this, Mozzicato racks up strikeouts, posting a K/9 of 11.6 in 2022. This is promising, as it shows that Mozzicato has the stuff to become an effective pitcher, showing potential down the road. However, while most young pitchers shoot through the ranks, Mozzicato was kept in A ball all year. You should model the Royals apprehension with Mozzicato and avoid him in your Dynasty leagues.
Jay Allen, OF, Cincinnati Reds.
Jay Allen II is a player I’m looking forward to seeing more of on https://t.co/HDGJZKXt3Y this season. I think we’ll see more power now that he’s out of the FSL.
He maintained strong BB/K rates with a 13.4 BB% & 24.4 K% (lg avg 10.5 & 28.6%) and stole 53 bases at an 81% rate. pic.twitter.com/nVWMy5qeKp
— OnBaseMachine (@RedsFan_Brandon) January 25, 2023
Coming out of high school, Jay Allen was supposed to add to a growing list of players who display both incredible power and speed. The Scouts got it half right, good for a .500 batting average. Unfortunately, a .500 average is over double what Allen managed to hit in his first year. While batting average is overrated, as too much emphasis is placed on average when more advanced stats are out, prospects should still hit at a decent clip in order to move up in the Minors.
Allen only managed to hit .225 in 2022 across A ball in Daytona and A+ in Dayton. (Does anyone else find it amusing that the Reds have both Daytona and Dayton as affiliates?) This would be less concerning if Allen flashed the promising power he showed in high school, but Allen only hit three homers in over 90 games. Additionally, Allen struck out far too many times, posting more strikeouts (92) than games played (91).
However, Allen did flash signs of excellence. The speed we were promised showed up from day one. Allen was a terror on the basepaths, stealing 43 bags in just 91 games. Additionally, Allen was able to somewhat make up for his lack of hitting with good plate discipline. 44 walks are great, as Allen can sometimes turn these walks into "doubles" after stealing a base.
While Allen may be effective in leagues where stolen bases are still important, I would stay away from him until his hitting improves.
Maddux Bruns, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Check out the #Dodgers top pick.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) July 12, 2021
You thought Mozzicato's control was bad?
First-round picks are supposed to breeze through rookie ball. Jay Allen even hit .328 in rookie ball. This makes Bruns's 12.6 BB/9 in rookie ball all the more concerning. It is almost impossible to be effective when a pitcher is walking a batter or two every single inning. The pitch count rises, and runners are constantly in scoring position.
In addition to a 12.6 BB/9, Bruns also only went five innings total across four starts in rookie ball. This shows how much trouble Bruns got into early, with the manager's quick hook showing his lack of trust in Bruns.
Things didn't get a lot better from Bruns over a full season of work. The BB/9 dropped, but only to 9.1. Bruns still walked a batter an inning, and posted a very high 5.68 ERA. Evidently, the walks came around to hurt Bruns a lot.
Despite these struggles, Bruns still struck out batters at a great clip. He flashed his mid to high 90's fastball and sharp curve to the tune of 13.6 K/9. Like Mozzicato, this number is very promising, as it showcases the potential for Bruns to be an unhittable arm.
However, Bruns only averaged about two innings per start. While all of his appearances were starts, this number could indicate a move to the bullpen. No matter how many batters Bruns strikes out, there is no use for a reliever who walks a ton amongst your coveted prospect lineup.
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