The Las Vegas 51's rotation was expected to be a stellar one at the beginning of the season. The New York Mets had already committed Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero, and Noah Syndergaard to that rotation. Cory Mazzoni, a 2011 second round pick out of North Carolina State, was supposed to join them. Mazzoni hurt his lat in the Mets' final spring training game, costing him a chance to start the year in Las Vegas. Mazzoni has finally made his way to the 51's, and his story will be highlighted in this week's edition of Minor League Mondays.
Mazzoni is one of the Mets' lower tier starting prospects, with a repertoire consisting of a fastball that sits between 92-94 miles per hour as well as a slider and changeup. Mazzoni has dealt with injuries in the past, as he was sidelined at the end of the 2013 season with the Binghamton Mets after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee (ESPN New York's Adam Rubin chronicled Mazzoni's journey in this report). The lat injury was the latest set back for Mazzoni, and it took him a while to recover from this injury.
The Mets ended up using Mazzoni in their Grapefruit League Finale to avoid having Bartolo Colon face the Washington Nationals. With Colon slated to face the Nationals in just a few days, the Mets gave Mazzoni the ball. Mazzoni hurt his lat, and the injury knocked him out of action for over two months. Mazzoni finally started making rehab appearances a few weeks ago, and the Mets have slowly moved him up the ladder until he joined the Las Vegas 51's on July 16th. Mazzoni has made two starts for the 51's, and has struggled a bit to adjust to the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League.
Mazzoni will likely spend the remainder of the season with the 51's, and could cameo with the Mets in September if the club wants him to get his feet wet in the major leagues. The Mets have always felt that Mazzoni profiles as a reliever in the major leagues, and his stuff could allow him to contend for a relief role as soon as next season. The Mets have improved their bullpen drastically by using former starters Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia as relievers, and Mazzoni could be the next man to follow that career path for the Amazin's.
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