As someone with his jersey retired by three different Major League teams, Nolan Ryan is a household name to anybody who knows the game of baseball. Ryan is an eight-time All-Star, an 11-time strikeout leader and a World Series champion – but what he is arguably most recognized for is throwing seven no-hitters, the most out of any pitcher to walk out onto the diamond. If you’ve tried your hand at pitching in a competitive baseball game or even watched enough on TV, then you probably know how difficult it is to throw a strike, let alone nine innings hitless. Now multiply that by seven.
The record seems almost too unsurpassable, especially when you consider that the pitcher in second place, Sandy Koufax, has only pitched four – all of which came in the 1960’s. That said, every once in a while a new generational talent pokes his head out of the dugout. One of these generational talents that could potentially be a threat to Ryan’s long standing record is the Kansas City Royals sixth-overall prospect.
Enter Frank Mozzicato.
Mozzicato was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 2003. He had initially committed to UConn, though when he was drafted out of high school by the Royals as the 7th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, he signed for $3,547,500. If you take a look at his high school résumé it should answer any questions you might have as to why this kid skipped college and was drafted when he was.
During his senior year Mozicatto amassed a ground-breaking 0.16 ERA with 135 K’s through 55 ⅔ innings as he led East Catholic High School to a Connecticut Class M State Championship. Pretty impressive! Well, on the road to the state championship, this then 17 year old kid pitched 30 and ⅓ innings without surrendering a hit. Since high school games are played over seven innings, that means that as a senior in high school this kid threw four consecutive no-hitters and topped them off with a 1-2-3 inning out of the bullpen.
This incredible streak, which included a near perfect 17-strikeout game, unfortunately came to an end on 5 June 2021. Two siblings by the names of Chris and Michael Amato possibly earned themselves an enemy for life when Chris lined a single up the middle in the third inning and Michael ripped a single to right in the fourth inning during the quarterfinal game. East Catholic High still won the game 19-1, but even more impressively, that meant that Connecticut ball players had only earned two hits while Mozzicato was pitching since 26 April of that year.
Now it can be argued that it’s high school ball and it shouldn’t count because there’s no guarantee he will live up to the hype as a pro, and of course that’s true – but I wouldn’t sleep on this kid. His career with the Single-A Columbia Fireflies has not been short of excitement, but he did go through what seemed like an adjustment period during his 2022 campaign.
Frank had a slow start to his professional career in 2022, with a 2-6 record and 4.30 ERA for the Fireflies. The young pitcher started 19 games totalling 69 innings, with opposing hitters managing a .219 average. In 2023, Mozzicato has started to show signs that his senior high school season was not just a fluke and has racked up 74 strikeouts through 46 ⅓ innings. This includes an outing where he struck out 13 batters through six innings, and in all of his nine starts he is yet to give up more than five hits.
Although he is yet to throw a fabled no hitter so far in his professional career, one has to expect that it’s coming. I expect to be hearing the name Frank Mozzicato quite regularly during his rise through the minor leagues, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Double-A or Triple-A and eventually the MLB very, very soon.
Featured images of Nolan Ryan and Frank Mozzicato by Ron Vesely/Getty Images and @MLB on Twitter.
Kane McEvoy is a guest contributor for Bat Flips & Nerds. Want to share your baseball opinions with a Bat Flips & Nerds audience of 10,000+? Click on the “Write for us” link above.