AJ Izzi has sometimes flown under the radar with teammate Noah Schultz, a left-handed pitcher, considered one of the top prep arms in the 2022 class. Even though Schultz missed time this spring, Izzi gave scouts a reason to flock to Oswego, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago.
The senior right-handed pitcher at Oswego East (Ill.) High School has a tremendous feel for pitching, displaying a quality three-pitch mix and loose and athletic delivery. In recent months, his success and development have led to him receiving increased MLB draft interest.
Scouts project Izzi as a potential top-three-round pick in July’s draft. Schultz will likely hear his name called in the second round, giving Oswego East possibly two of the top prep pitchers in this year’s draft class.
“When I pitch, I don’t really notice it,” Izzi said. “When Noah is pitching, I see it, and it is crazy to see all those scouts there.”
Izzi is a 6-foot-3, 165-pound right-handed pitcher that throws a two-seam fastball, slider and circle changeup from a high three-quarters arm slot and clean and low-effort delivery.
The right-handed pitcher primarily relies on his fastball, slider combination. His fastball sits in the low-90s and touches 96 mph with some movement. He is extremely projectable and should add more velocity to his fastball as he matures physically.
Izzi tunnels his slider well off of his fastball. It is a sharp breaking pitch with late movement. He has improved the pitch from last summer, tweaking the grip and making minor mechanical adjustments to have consistency with it.
“My best skill is my ability to tunnel all my pitches off of the same arm angle and keep a repetitive arm motion on every pitch,” Izzi said. “I don’t give away what I am throwing, which helps me.”
This offseason, Izzi wants to refine his changeup so it can serve as a reliable offering at the next level. He didn’t rely on the pitch throughout his high school career. His changeup features fading action and the potential to be a quality offering once he uses it consistently.
“I definitely want to work on my changeup,” Izzi said. “I want to have that and throw that whenever I can.”
While Izzi is a legitime draft prospect, he also is a Wichita State commit. He committed to the Shockers as a junior in September 2020.
Former MLB manager Eric Wedge just completed his third year at the helm of the Shockers program. Mike Pelfrey, who had a 12-year MLB career, has served as Wichita State’s pitching coach for four years.
Wichita State’s coaching staff stood out to Izzi throughout the recruiting process. He liked the staff’s vision for the program and knew the coaches would prepare him for a major-league career after college.
“I thought those were the guys that would help me get where I want to be,” Izzi said. “The culture they are starting there stood out. They also are hoping to win another championship in the next few years. It is something I want to be a part of.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.