A proud day for the Mazzilli family, as Greenwich’s L.J. Mazzilli drafted by Mets

Greenwich native and University of Connecticut second baseman L.J. Mazzilli makes the play in the field during a recent game for the Huskies. — photo courtesy of the University of Connecticut

Greenwich native and University of Connecticut second baseman L.J. Mazzilli makes the play in the field during a recent game for the Huskies. — photo courtesy of the University of Connecticut

[UPDATED: Thursday, June 7 at 11:04 p.m.] There are few moments in a person’s lifetime that are truly magical and Greenwich residents L.J. Mazzilli and his father Lee Mazzilli got to experience that first-hand earlier today.

On the second day of the 2013 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, L.J. Mazzilli, who patrolled second base for the University of Connecticut this spring, was taken in the fourth round (116th overall) by the New York Mets. The same New York Mets organization drafted his father Lee Mazzilli in the first round back in 1973.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity from the New York Mets and Jeff Wilpon,” said L.J. Mazzilli during a press conference. “I am so excited to start, whenever I start, and to work hard and try to another Mazzilli to the Mets. It’s a cool opportunity to be drafted by the same team as my dad, who was picked 40 years ago.”

To say that Lee Mazzilli, who played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball and was a member of the 1986 World Series champion Mets, was proud would be an understatement.

“To see my son, some 40 years after I was drafted, go to a team that I grew up in, makes me a very proud dad,” Lee Mazzilli said. “Our family can’t be more excited. This is a good thing for L.J., as he is off to start his own career, which any parent would be very proud of. It’s something that is very exciting for so many people. This is a great day for us and I can’t be more proud as a dad.”

Heading into the second day of the MLB Draft, L.J. Mazzilli had a feeling that the New York Mets were going to pick him up in the fourth round. With his dad and mother Dani Mazzilli by his side watching the draft coverage, he patiently waited to hear his name called. And once it did, the emotions immediately started flowing.

“I got the call and me and my dad just hugged instantly,” L.J. Mazzilli said. “It was an amazing moment for me and my family.”

While it’s easy to think that Mazzilli has a lot of pressure because he was drafted by the same team his father was, the younger Mazzilli is focused on starting his own legend in Major League Baseball.

“I don’t feel or think of any pressure in that regard,” L.J. Mazzilli said. “I’m so excited to be able to have an opportunity that my dad had 40 years ago. There are so many feelings on this day and I am looking forward to making my own name out there and carrying my last name with a lot of pride.”

Greenwich native L.J. Mazzilli fields a grounder during a practice for UConn. — photo courtesy of the University of Connecticut

Greenwich native L.J. Mazzilli fields a grounder during a practice for UConn. — photo courtesy of the University of Connecticut

While L.J. Mazzilli doesn’t feel the pressure of playing in New York and living up to his high expectations, his father is a firm believer that L.J. will handle the pressure well.

“There’s a lot pressure playing in this city and the one thing L.J. is very good at is learning how to turn the page on a lot of things. You have to deal with the pressure. There’s no question. The pressure is there and you have to deal with that when you play in front of 50,000 people. That’s part of playing in the big leagues and that’s the fun part.”

For L.J. Mazzilli, the decision to return to the University of Connecticut for his senior season, as he was drafted in the ninth round last season, was a smart choice.

In his senior year this spring, L.J. Mazzilli led the way in a plethora of categories. He led paced the Huskies with a .354 batting average, a .515 slugging percentage and a .408 on-base percentage. Mazzilli was tops on the team with 50 runs scored and added 92 hits. Out of those hits, he led the team with 16 doubles, four triples and six home runs.

The UConn second baseman also led the team with 51 runs batted in and added a team-leading 29 stolen bases.

In the Big East championship game against the University of Notre Dame, L.J. Mazzilli finished 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and one walk. During the team’s NCAA tournament opening round game against Virginia Tech, a 5-2 victory, he went 2-for-5 with one RBI.

“It was a tough decision last year to go back to school, but the way I have improved is with some characteristics off the field that really helped me on the field,” L.J. Mazzilli said. “I approach the game with more enthusiasm, trying to a hold of more leadership roles with the team and going out on the field trusting my abilities. I try to pull the most out of myself by having fun and letting it all out.”

While having a highly-successful college career with the Huskies, it also helps to have a father that knows a lot about playing baseball at such a high level.

“My dad has taught me a lot about the game of baseball and the biggest thing he’s taught me is two things,” L.J. Mazzilli said. “One is that it takes zero effort to hustle with anything you do and give 100% effort with anything you do on the field. But also he helps me a lot with the mental approach of the game, to hitting and fielding to taking everything as it comes day-by-day.”

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress