Things to know about Pirates pick Mlodzinski

June 11th, 2020

Between missing time with a broken left foot in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic prematurely ending this season, Carmen Mlodzinski didn't have the collegiate career he envisioned at South Carolina -- but he certainly made the most of his opportunity in the Cape Cod League.

Here are 10 facts you should know about Mlodzinski, whom the Pirates selected with their second pick in the 2020 Draft on Wednesday night, at No. 31 overall.

• First and foremost, while Mlodzinski's last name may be difficult to spell, it's a bit easier to pronounce ("ma-Jinsk-ee"). That said, don't bother searching for him on Twitter or Instagram, as he doesn't have any social media accounts.

"I don't have any social media, which has helped me a lot, especially with my own mental image," he said at South Carolina's media availability prior to the 2020 season. "So just getting away from all of that stuff helps a lot."

• Mlodzinski grew up playing shortstop, and while he always had impressive arm strength, he didn't begin pitching until his junior season at Hilton Head High (S.C.) in 2016. Though he pitched approximately only five innings his junior year and another 40 as a senior, Mlodzinski had started generating interest among Major League teams before a torn fingernail sidelined him for a chunk of his senior year.

• Despite missing time in his final high school season, Mlodzinski was named the South Carolina 4A Player of the Year and was ranked the top prep in South Carolina in 2017 by Perfect Game.

• Mlodzinski racked up a 5.52 ERA while serving in a swingman role during his freshman season at South Carolina, but he was named the Gamecocks' Opening Day starter as a sophomore in 2019. Unfortunately, Mlodzinski sustained a broken left foot during his third start of the year and missed the remainder of the '19 collegiate season.

• Though his sophomore season at South Carolina ended prematurely, Mlodzinski made a full recovery in time to turn heads over the summer at the Cape Cod Baseball League. The right-hander put up a 2.15 ERA and 40 strikeouts vs. four walks over 29 1/3 innings on the Cape for the Falmouth Commodores en route to finishing the summer as the best pitching prospect in the Cape Cod League.

• Mlodzinski's fastball, which also features some sink and run, sat at 92-96 mph during his impressive run in Cape Cod -- and he ran it up as high as 99 mph during fall practice. While the righty also flashed a plus curveball in high school, he's since scrapped that for a low-80s slider with power and depth that sometimes morphs into a cutter, according to MLB Pipeline. He also shows feel for a sinking changeup and could have three plus pitches once he's fully developed.

• Mlodzinski appeared ready to carry his Cape Cod success into the 2020 season, putting up a 2.84 ERA over four starts before the college baseball season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was one of 55 players named to the preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the top amateur baseball player in the nation.

• After posting a 5.59 ERA with 32 walks over 56 1/3 innings in his first two collegiate seasons, Mlodzinski seemingly smoothed out his three-quarters delivery and did a much better job of repeating his delivery starting last summer, allowing him to pound the strike zone in both the Cape Cod League and the shortened 2020 collegiate season. After posting 40 strikeouts to just four walks on the Cape, he racked up 22 strikeouts to eight walks over 25 1/3 innings in his four starts with South Carolina this spring.

• Mlodzinski's brother, JJ, was named the 2020 Rookie of the Year for the South Carolina Club Baseball team. JJ went 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA over three starts in the shortened season, while allowing only 11 hits over 18 innings.

• Along with doing workouts sent by the Gamecocks' strength coach, Mlodzinski has used local golf courses to keep his arm loose over the past couple of months. With nearby baseball fields closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mlodzinski told WSAV in Hilton Head, S.C., that he and his brothers have been throwing together out on the golf courses at night.