- Full name Michael A. Costanzo
- Born 09/09/1983 in Springfield, PA
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Coastal Carolina
- Debut 05/13/2012
Drafted in the 2nd round (65th overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005 (signed for $570,000).
View Draft ReportCostanzo's two-way prowess was a major reason why Coastal Carolina worked its way into Baseball America's Top 25 for the first time in the program's history. He mirrors Clemson's Kris Harvey in that scouts are split over he'll be better on the mound or at the plate. Because he has lefthanded power and enough arm to profile for third base, most clubs like Costanzo better at the plate. If he's drafted as a pitcher, it will be because of his closer's demeanor, durable arm, fastball in the low 90s and power slider in the 80-83 mph range that can be a plus pitch. At the plate, Costanzo has shown raw and usable power, both with metal (21 homers in 2004) and wood, hitting six homers to rank fourth in the Cape Cod League last summer. His homers stem more from overpowering the ball than bat speed, though, and he's not expected to hit for a consistently high average. He has excellent plate discipline and is working on his second straight year of 50-plus walks. Costanzo doesn't play much third anymore to save his arm for pitching, so scouts aren't sure if his feet and hands will be good enough at third.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Costanzo had a busy offseason, moving from the Phillies to the Astros in the Brad Lidge trade in November, then staying with Houston just over a month before going to the Orioles as part of the fiveplayer package for Miguel Tejada. Costanzo has enormous raw power, especially to the pull side, and ranked second in the Double-A Eastern League in homers last season. He typically has struggled against lefthanders, but he made huge strides late in 2007. If pitchers won't challenge him, Costanzo is more than willing to take a walk. A two-way player at Coastal Carolina, he has a plus arm at third base. He's an average runner once he gets underway. Some scouts believe Costanzo will have to move to first base because of poor agility and footwork at third, while others wonder whether he has too many holes in his swing to be an everyday player. He has 379 strikeouts in 345 pro games, and it's unlikely he'll hit for much of an average. Though he arrived in camp last spring in the best shape of his life, his lateral movement and first-step quickness remain fringy at best. The Orioles have had just four players hit 30 homers or more in the last decade, so while Costanzo has flaws, his power has value to them. Younger corner infielders Billy Rowell and Brandon Snyder could affect his future in his new organization, but Costanzo has the advantage of being more advanced and could see big league time in 2008 if he plays well at Triple-A Norfolk.
When he was born, Constanzo was brought home from the hospital in a Phillies jacket. After helping lead Coastal Carolina to prominence as a pitcher (8-1, 14 saves as a junior) and hitter in three seasons, he hasn't quite performed up to expectations with his hometown organization. Still, he ranked fifth in the high Class A Florida State League in RBIs in his first full season after playing in the New York-Penn League in his debut. His swing can get long, and at times he struggles mightily with offspeed pitches. Several scouts said he appeared to take at-bats off last summer. He worked hard on laying off pitches over the inner half--where he'd automatically go into pull mode-- but he still has a ways to go. Virtually all of his power is to right and right-center and he rarely works to the opposite field. Defensively, Costanzo is arguably the best third baseman in the system. He has soft hands, a strong, accurate arm and good range, though he needs to work on his footwork to the right. Costanzo will get plenty of opportunities as the highest-drafted player in the system in 2005 and one of the top power prospects in the organization, but he needs to tighten up his approach and use the whole field more consistently. He'll likely play all of 2007 in Double-A.
Costanzo grew up a Phillies fan in Springfield, Pa., and came home from the hospital when he was born in a tiny Phillies jacket. Before signing for $570,000 as Philadelphia's top draft pick, he was named Big South Conference athlete of the year. He led Division I in walks (68) while blasting 16 homers and earning 14 saves. The Phillies immediately changed Costanzo's stance when he got to Batavia, making him more upright and open. He started slowly, but his hitting skills and bat speed ultimately shined through as he drove balls to all fields with authority. Defensively, Costanzo offers good body control and agility along with an above-average, accurate arm. Costanzo split time between first and third base in college, so he's still getting used to everyday action at the hot corner. His hard work should help him improve his reads and routes. He batted just .170 with 25 strikeouts in 53 at-bats against lefthanders. Because he's older, Costanzo is more likely than Welinson Baez to open 2006 in high Class A. Costanzo's maturity and approach should allow him to handle skipping a level.
Minor League Top Prospects
Costanzo finished second to Larish with 27 homers despite a horrific start. For the second straight year, he finished with a flourish, hitting .358 with eight home runs in the final month. He earned comparisons to Russell Branyan for his prodigious lefthanded power and erratic play at third base, where he committed 34 errors. Costanzo evokes Branyan also for his strikeouts (157 in 508 at-bats), and his grooved swing will continue to produce holes that pitchers at advanced levels can exploit. He has the athletic ability to adjust and the raw power to hit homers even without squaring up the ball, but he must show the ability to make more adjustments and lay off pitches he can't hit. Defensively, Costanzo has the tools to play third, most notably a plus arm. But he has yet to make the adjustments that would make him an average defender. He lacks consistent footwork, and scouts question his agility and infield actions.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the International League in 2008
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Houston Astros in 2008
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Houston Astros in 2008
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Florida State League in 2006