Floral Park slugger is picked by Phillies

For most prospects, being drafted is an once-in-a-lifetime achievement. For Matt Rizzotti, it was simply a case of been there, done that.
Well, sort of.
As a senior at Archbishop Molloy, the Minnesota Twins selected the Floral Park native in the 46th round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Wisely, he turned down the offer and headed to Manhattan instead.
Three years later, he was picked again - only much higher. The Philadelphia Phillies chose the slugging first baseman in the sixth round (203 overall) to start the second day of the MLB Draft last Friday. Rizzotti became the highest player taken from the Riverdale school since Bob Chlupsa was made a fifth round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1967 draft.
“This is very different,” Rizzotti added. “Out of high school it was basically just an honor to be drafted. This is a lot more than an honor. This is like a life-changing thing.”
Rizzotti worked out with several teams, including the Yankees, the team he grew up rooting for. But they all passed on the first day, and Rizzotti went to sleep that night wondering how far he would drop. Once he was picked, though, nothing else mattered. “As disappointed as I was, I’m equally as happy,” he said.
Rizzotti became one of the top hitters in the northeast at Manhattan. He earned first team All-MAAC honors for a third straight season after hitting a team-high .352 with 11 homers, and 43 runs batted in. He drew a MAAC-leading 56 walks, breaking his own single season program record set as a sophomore.
“He was our franchise player,” Manhattan Coach Kevin Leighton said. “We relied on him for everything. … Losing a guy like that is tough; he’s going to be hard to replace. But we’re happy to see him go and move on to the next level. It’s a great opportunity for him.”
Now, Rizzotti says, he is ready for his next challenge. Once he signs, he will play for the Phillies class-A affiliate, the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League.
“If you think about it, I have to grow up this year,” Rizzotti said. “It’s kind of crazy actually. It’s a great opportunity, which I’m looking forward to. I think I can handle it.”

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