Philadelphia Phillies: Is Matt Rizzotti a Star in the Making?

September 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

For the past year or so, you might’ve heard about Dominic Brown. He is considered to be the Phillies’ best minor league prospect and was sought after by the Blue Jays in the blockbuster Roy Halladay deal. The Phillies were reluctant to give him up, and so he stayed a Philly, or at least a Double-A Reading Philly. Another player the Phillies might want to consider holding on to is Matt Rizzotti.

The Floral Park, NY native started off his career at Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood, NY where he disposed of opposing pitchers in historic fashion. He broke the school record for home runs in a single season during his senior year when he hit 16 bombs. He also hit for a .512 batting average that year while driving in 52 runs, earning him Queens Player of the Year honors and being named a Louisville High School All-American. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 46th round that year, but ultimately decided to attend Manhattan College after being hotly recruited by NCAA powerhouses North Carolina and Vanderbilt.

At Manhattan he tore up opposing pitching, getting progressively better every year being named MAAC Player of the Year in 2005, MAAC Preseason Player of the Year in 2006, and being ranked 47th on Baseball America’s 2007 Early Draft Preview. He was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft.

He quickly signed with the Phillies and started off his career with the “Phils” shortly after signing his contract, being assigned to Williamsport of the New York Penn League. Once there he hit .260 with 27 RBI in 63 games. The next year he was moved up a level to Rookie A ball and showed improvement, playing in 106 games while batting .278 with 10 jacks and 55 runs batted in. He was soon moved up to Lakewood A ball, during which he came back down to earth, hitting a respectable .268 and once again hitting double digits in HRs with 10.

2009 was a breakout year for Rizzotti as he was moved up to the A-plus level of the minors, this time playing in Clearwater for the Threshers. He had a fantastic year, hitting a tremendous .351 while bopping 13 home runs and driving in 58 runs. Things were really looking up for Matt after this season and 2010 proved to be a deciding year for him. With all the hype he surely wouldn’t disappoint.

If 2009 was a breakout year for Rizzotti, then I don’t know what you can call the year Matt Rizzotti is having. He is really opening eyes in the Phillies organization, starting off the year with Clearwater hitting .358; he was promoted to Double-A Reading after 31 games. Now in Reading, Rizzotti is having the best season of his entire minor league career. He is hitting .358 with a mind-boggling 11 home runs in just 166 at-bats. He also has 15 doubles on the season, earning a spot in the Eastern League All-Star game. 

In case you’re wondering about his defense, he’s committed only 18 errors in 1553 chances in his last four seasons combined. He also possesses a squeaky clean .988 fielding percentage during that period.

So tell me, what’s not to like about this ball player? At 6’5″, 236lbs. he is a mammoth of a human being and can absolutely rate. A big, strong late-round first baseman that can crush the ball. Hmm…Sounds like current Major League Phillies player Ryan Howard, and Howard may be what keeps Rizzotti from being the Phillies ML first baseman. So, maybe he can be a trade chip in a possible deal some day.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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