In the fourth round of the 2022 MLB Draft, the Seattle Mariners selected a talented right-handed pitcher in Ashton Izzi.
The Illinois native was one of the top high school arms in the draft and has drawn praise for his composure on the mound and low-effort delivery. While Izzi is still a few years from the majors, he brings exciting potential to the Seattle system and hopes to make a quick impact.
Izzi graciously granted time to Prime Time Sports Talk for an exclusive interview.
Jamie Gatlin: What was the draft process like for you?
Ashton Izzi: It was pretty much just talking to my advisors about what the plan was. We got a few calls the day it happened, and they told me who was interested. When the Mariners called, they gave me the deal I wanted, and it worked out.
JG: What was it like to share the experience of getting drafted with your family?
AI: I was with my family when I got the call that I had been picked. My mom and dad were both working, but when I got the call, they both came into the room, and it was a great experience to have them there.
JG: Being drafted out of high school, when did that process start for you?
AI: Last summer is when it all began. I had a couple of guys come out and see me, and in the fall, I increased my velocity, which caught some attention. In March, more scouts showed up to my starts than before, and that’s when it started.
JG: What was it like to have one of your teammates, Noah Schultz, get drafted and endure the same process as you?
AI: It’s been pretty cool. He’s here in Arizona, only 15 minutes away. I’m going through this as a high schooler, and there are players here who are as well. It’s nice, though, that if I ever wanted to go back to someone, I spent four years with him in high school, I can go to him for advice. He is always a guy I can look to.
𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟮 𝗠𝗟𝗕 𝗗𝗿𝗮𝗳𝘁 ⚾️
With the 126th pick in the 2022 #MLBDraft, the Seattle Mariners selected Ashton Izzi from Oswego East HS.
A former PBR Future Games participant, Izzi was up to 94 mph this spring in our looks and is ranked No. 6 overall in the IL 2022 class. pic.twitter.com/bEZ88wUfDs
— PBR Illinois (@PBRIllinois) July 18, 2022
How Izzi is preparing for the next level
JG: What type of advice have people given you over the last couple of weeks?
AI: There are a lot of college guys who have been taking me under their wing. They have given me and the other draft picks a layout of what it is like for them. All the guys here who are playing in games are super friendly, and they have treated me like family.
JG: What type of pitcher are the Mariners getting?
AI: A very projectable arm. I have a lot of molding that the Mariners can do to me. I can gain velocity, weight, and add spin to my pitches. My ceiling is so much higher compared to where I am now.
JG: What is one thing that you are looking to focus on at the next level?
AI: So far, it’s been adding strength and weight. When it comes to pitching, working on a third pitch, developing my changeup to be a pitch that I can utilize in games, and expanding my arsenal beyond a fastball, slider, and an okay third pitch.
Biggest inspiration and life outside of the diamond
JG: Who were your favorite pitchers to watch growing up?
AI: Growing up, I liked watching Lucas Giolito. He’s the hometown guy and I was a big White Sox fan, so he’s been a big inspiration for how I throw my changeup. Jacob deGrom is another one. He’s been inspiring because he is a tall, skinny guy that can throw really hard.
JG: What is your favorite thing to do outside of playing baseball?
AI: Golfing, which I’ve been able to take advantage of lately. It’s been something I have picked up over the last couple of years. Pitching on the weekend, I have the rest of the week to do whatever, and I took the time to golf, and it’s been something fun to do when I’m not playing baseball.
JG: Who has been your biggest influence?
AI: In life and baseball, my parents have played a huge role. They have been there through the ups and downs. This past year, my new pitching coach, Josh Kauten, has helped push me, and he has always been a guy that tells me the truth, whether it’s good or not. He helps me get better as a person and as a player.
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Main Image Credit: H. Rick Bamman/The Beacon-News