It’s not often a Major League Baseball scout will share insights on draft prospects just a month before the draft, but Detroit Tigers Northeast scouting supervisor Jim Bretz did just that on the most recent New England Baseball Journal Podcast.
In a must-listen for anyone interested in the 2021 MLB Draft, Bretz talked about what could be a historic draft for New England prospects with as many as 10 players expected to earn selections in the first three rounds.
“There’s a large emphasis on New England this year,” Bretz said. “If you talk to all of the bosses from all of the clubs, the consensus seems to be that the Northeast has the best arsenal of players in the country. That’s coming from the top for all clubs.”
Prior to being with the Tigers, Bretz was a scout for the San Diego Padres and the Cleveland Indians. Along with Red Sox regional scouting director Ray Fagnant and Yankees regional scouting director Matt Hyde, Bretz serves as a coach for the Northeast Area Code Games team as well as a member of the East Coast Pro Showcase staff.
“This year is one of the best years for Northeast prospects since I’ve been in it for the last 23 years,” Bretz said. “There have been years when it’s been stacked, but not like this. Arguably, we’ve got 10-12 high school guys just in the Northeast. This high school crop is extremely deep.”
Of the high school players likely to get selected at the top of the draft, Bretz said East Catholic (Conn.) pitcher Frank Mozzicato has helped himself the most this spring.
“Two years ago, nobody knew who Frank Mozzicato was,” Bretz said. “He continues to get better every time out. He has a big body, a projectable body that will get stronger. He’s sitting 91 to 92 mph; he’s going to throw harder. We all think that. We all know that. His bread and butter is a signature curveball. It’s a downer curveball that’s really late. All you have to do is watch the deer-in-headlight looks from the hitters to realize it’s special.”
Among the college programs in New England, Boston College, UConn and Northeastern are laden with the most pro prospects. Bretz believes Boston College outfielder Sal Frelick (Lexington, Mass.) has as much potential as any of the local prospects.
“Sal Frelick is a unique player because he’s a legit leadoff guy,” Bretz said. “It’s hard to find leadoff men. We know he can run. He puts the ball in play, and he has sneaky power. He plays a great defense, which is only going to get better the more he plays it. People forget he came out of high school as a shortstop.”
Bretz also shared thoughts on BC draft prospects Cody Morissette (Exter, N.H.), Mason Pelio, Emmett Sheehan (Darien, Conn.), UConn draft prospects Pat Winkel (Orange, Conn.), Ben Casparius (Westport, Conn.) and Kyler Fedko, and Northeastern draft prospects Jared Dupere (Amesbury, Mass.), Ben Malgeri (Stratham, N.H.), Ian Fair (Walpole, Mass.) and Scott Holzwasser (Sudbury, Mass.).
Northeastern’s pitching staff also includes two players at the front of the 2022 MLB Draft Class — Cam Schlittler (East Walpole, Mass.) and Sebastian Keane (North Andover, Mass.).
“They’re really good upside players,” Bretz said. “They have one of the best pitching staffs in the Northeast. The underclassmen — Keane and Schlittler — are winning games now. They’re only going to get better.”
Bretz and host Dan Guttenplan concluded the podcast by discussing what MLB scouts look for in players, what showcase events college prospects should attend in the summer, and which players will be considered for the Area Code Games this summer.
Listen to the entire pod.
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