Prospect Q&A: Vince Mazzaro, P

Billy Beane and the Oakland A's organization made a splash last June when they selected five high school pitchers in the top-10 rounds of the draft. One of those pitchers was New Jersey native Vince Mazzaro. Mazzaro signed late and missed the Rookie League season. However, he pitched well during the Instructional Leagues and began the 2006 season in Kane County where he hasn't skipped a beat.

Through May 29, Vince Mazzaro was second on the Kane County Cougars in innings pitched with 47.2 and third on the team in strikeouts with 35. He was also 5-4 in 10 starts with a 5.29 ERA.

As a high school senior in Rutherford, New Jersey, Mazzaro went 7-1 with a 0.27 ERA. He struck out 91 batters and walked only six during his senior season in high school. The A's selected Mazzaro in the third round of the 2005 draft. He was the third of three straight high school pitchers taken by the A's in the draft, behind Cougar teammates Craig Italiano and Jared Lansford.

Kane County Correspondent Jennifer Harasek caught up with the young right-hander during the Cougars Memorial Day weekend series versus the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Jennifer Harasek: When you got to the Instructional Leagues, what did you work on?

Vince Mazzaro: Since I signed late, they really didn't get to see me. I really didn't work on a lot. I just threw how I threw in high school and they picked out things they wanted me to work on in the offseason, and then carry on into spring training.

JH: What are you looking forward to the most about this season?

VM: I'm just enjoying my first season, going out there and working hard and doing the best I can every time I go out on the mound.

JH: What pitches are you throwing right now?

VM: Right now I throw a two-seam and a four-seam fastball, a changeup and a knuckle curve.

JH: Which pitches are you most comfortable with?

VM: I'm most comfortable with my two-seamer.

JH: Least comfortable with?

VM: I guess my changeup because I never had a changeup in high school, and that's one of the things I worked on in spring training.

JH: What was it like to make your professional debut?

VM: It was great. It was an exciting day. The weather wasn't all that good since it snowed that day, but I was pumped. I was ready and I enjoyed it, and I'm glad I got a win out of it, too.

JH: Has anything surprised you about minor league baseball yet?

VM: Not really. I had a few players I know that played minor league baseball, and they told me about a lot of things that go on. Nothing so far has really surprised me, it's all that it has been pumped up to be.

JH: Did you set any goals for yourself at the beginning of the season?

VM: Yeah, I set a few goals pitching-wise. Improving my mechanics and working on pitch sequences to batters, things like that.

JH: Have you always been a pitcher, or did you start out as a position player?

VM: No, I started out as a shortstop, and I was a pretty good hitter. Sophomore year in high school, everything just started developing pitching-wise.

I was getting looked at by scouts, and it made me work harder at pitching. I slacked off a little on hitting and fielding, but it's a choice I had to make.

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