The first round of the 2021 MLB Draft didn't disappoint for New England fans. Three natives of New England earned selections in the first round on Sunday night, kicking off what is expected to be a historic draft for the Northeast region.
East Catholic High (Manchester, Conn.) pitcher Frank Mozzicato, Boston College outfielder Sal Frelick (Lexington, Mass.) and Wake Forest pitcher Ryan Cusick (Sudbury, Mass.) all earned selections within the top 24 picks, marking the first time three New England players earned first-round selections since 2011, with UConn’s George Springer (New Britain, Conn.) and Matt Barnes (Danbury, Conn.), along with Lawrence Academy (Mass.) pitcher Tyler Beede.
Mozzicato (Manchester, Conn.) heard his name called first -- No. 7 overall to the Kansas City Royals -- making him the highest drafted Connecticut high school since Bobby Valentine went fifth in 1968. It marked one of the fastest rises for a New England player in recent memory.
Mozzicato, a UConn commit, was not considered a draft prospect as recently as last summer, when he was snubbed from the East Coast Pro Showcase and Area Code Games rosters. By this spring, the 6-foot-3 left-hander's fastball velocity jumped into the 92- to 94-mph range, and his performances on the mound turned masterful. On his way to leading East Catholic High to a state championship, he pitched four consecutive no-hitters in May.