After sitting out the third round as punishment for making their team better and signing Robbie Ray, the Mariners came back in the fourth round of the 2022 MLB Draft with another prep selection: RHP Ashton “AJ” Izzi out of Oswego East HS in Illinois.
Izzi was teammates with Chicago White Sox first-rounder LHP Noah Schultz, who missed some time with injury this season; meanwhile, Izzi took the opportunity to impress the scouts who flocked to the not-exactly-baseball-hotbed of the Chicago suburbs. However, the Mariners aren’t afraid of a cold-weather prep arm, having selected Sam Carlson from Minnesota back in 2017, and taking Michael Limoncelli out of Horseheads, NY
Izzi is 6’3” with a projectable frame who draws praise for his clean, repeatable, low-effort delivery and composure on the mound. He currently sits 91-93 MPH on the fastball, but has reportedly touched as high as 97 in showcase events. His best secondary pitch is a tight slider that tunnels well off the plane of his fastball. Like many other high school draftees, Izzi is working on a changeup; his shows promising fade, but needs further refinement.
AJ Izzi (‘22 IL) opens well with 4 Ks thru his first 2. Mostly 93-95 early, touched a 96 in 1st, really projectable & throwing firm SL @ 83-85; nice one for a K here. #GoShockers commit. #PGHS #PGDraft @OEHSbaseball pic.twitter.com/u9p5EDFArV— Perfect Game Illinois (@PG_Illinois) May 13, 2022
Like third-rounder Walter Ford, Izzi is also a mechanics darling with excellent hip/shoulder separation:
Ashton Izzi -— PBR Illinois (@PBRIllinois) July 22, 2021
A top-5 at the ProCase in hip to shoulder separation, & had well above average internal rotation velocity - signs that he’s transferring energy well, & turning that into arm speed, while using a shorter stride length. pic.twitter.com/hQiVuVVCb5
This is the third high school player the Mariners have taken in their first four picks, and the second high school pitcher. A Wichita State commit, the Mariners will need to go over the $474,400 slot value for the pick to sign Izzi, but having picked a senior redshirt pitcher right behind him, it seems they’ll be able to shift some money around.