The Yankees acquired L.J. Mazzilli in 2018 via trade with the cross-town rival Mets. Once the 23rd overall ranked prospect in the Mets system, Mazzilli showed promise but has yet to break through to the major leagues.
Mazzilli over the years developed into a utility man, playing both corner outfield spots along with middle infield and third base.
Mazzilli was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 draft and was then assigned to the New York-Penn League. During his time there, he posted a .710 OPS in 70 games. He was productive but in a limited scope. He did not provide much power — posting a .381 slugging percentage with only four home runs. Defensively, he played every game at second base, where he played good defense.
LJ Mazzilli spent most of the 2014 season bouncing between the South Atlantic League and the Florida State League. He had good offensive numbers — posting a .301 batting average and a .801 OPS. Mazzilli saw an increase in almost every offensive category — including on-base percentage and slugging.
The Mets thought enough of him that he was invited to the Arizona Fall League after the season. In 15 games played, Mazzilli produced at an even higher level against even better talent. He posted a .433 OBP and a .903 OPS — his career best at any level.
Mazzilli started the 2015 season in the Florida State League before getting called up to AA after five games. He played in 86 games at the AA-level and had a .337 on-base percentage. Mazzilli lacked any sort of power at the AA level, however, posting a .334 slugging percentage. He had shown an ability to put bat-to-ball and not much else.
LJ Mazzilli was called back to the Arizona Fall League in 2015 after spending most of the year in AA. This time did not yield the same results, however. In 10 games played, he had a .138 batting average.
Mazzilli began his 2016 season in AA with Binghamton. Despite his lack of power, Mazzilli was still able to be productive — posting a .326 on-base percentage. After playing the first 109 games in AA, Mazzilli earned a promotion to AAA for the final part of the season. Over his 13 games in AAA, Mazzilli posted a .273 OBP and a .669 OPS.
During the 2017 season, Mazzilli spent most of his season back in Binghamton with the AA team. He was able to work on his offensive game — most importantly — his on-base percentage. Despite his inability to drive the ball, he posted a .343 OBP — his best since 2014. Defensively, Mazzilli found a role as a utility man. He had played both corner outfield spots along with second base and shortstop. Moving around the diamond gave Mazzilli an opportunity to get more playing time along with show versatility.
In 2018, Mazzilli was traded to the Yankees and was assigned to AAA-Scranton. During his first season with Scranton, he played all over the field — mainly focused on second base and outfield. Offensively, Mazzilli posted a .315 OBP and a .715 OPS over 79 games — his best numbers at the AAA level. While the offensive production wasn’t his best, he still put together a strong season.
Standing at 6’1 and 190 lbs., LJ Mazzilli is a pretty standard size for a second baseman. For a utility man, his body size gives him maneuverability to play all over the diamond. Offensively, his hands move in a circular motion to act as his timing mechanism when at the plate. He is not able to generate much power with a smaller frame, but he has excellent bat-to-ball skills. His most redeemable quality, however, is his versatility. Having experience at five different positions on the field makes him desirable with possible injuries at the major league level.
Look for Mazzilli to start the 2019 season as organizational depth in AAA. Do not be surprised to hear his name mentioned with possible injuries to the major league club.