NEIL KOZIKOWSKI, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: May 26, 1995
Drafted: 8th Round, 239th Overall, 2013
How Acquired: Draft
High School: Avon Old Farms School (CT)
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Kozikowski played prep ball in Connecticut, which produces very little baseball talent. Even so, Baseball America did not list him among the top 20 prospects in lower New England, so he apparently flew under the radar. He has good size and a good build, with a fastball at the time of the draft that had reached 92 but was mainly from 86-88. Kozikowski had a good change and a potentially good breaking ball. He also threw a cutter at the time of the draft. He throws from a 3/4 slot. The Pirates no doubt regarded him as projectable. He had a commitment to Virginia Commonwealth University, but signed for $425,000, well over the slot amount of $155,400.
Kozikowski had a good debut, showing very good control. He didn’t miss many bats, but that’s not unusual for some of the Pirates “projectable” HS pitchers. He had a large reverse platoon split, but the sample size was small so it may not mean anything.
It was surprising at first, given his good showing in 2013, that the Pirates sent Kozikowski back to the GCL to open 2014. The surprise didn’t last, though, as Kozikowski got hammered consistently. Opponents batted 329/386/490 against him. His fastball didn’t take a step forward, sitting in the 86-88 range at least some of the time, so he simply seems not to have had adequate stuff to get hitters out.
Kozikowski moved up to Bristol and served in a swing role. He pitched much better than the previous year, with a decent K rate, but hitters still batted .302 against him.
The Pirates moved Kozikowski up to Morgantown, where he pitched exclusively in relief. He made progress over the previous two years without quite pitching well. Opponents hit .286 against him and were able to drive the ball at times, leading to an opponents’ slugging average of .463. Most of the damage came from left-handed hitters, who put up a 348/416/580 line against him. Right-handed batters managed only 231/262/359. His curve seems to be his best pitch now, which may account for the large platoon split.
Kozikowski’s progress has been very slow, but he’s still only 21. He could get a chance at West Virginia in 2017.
|2017: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $425,000
MiLB Debut: 2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2017
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 7, 2013: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 8th round, 239th overall pick; signed on June 21.|