Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mason Williams, OF:

The Yankees selected Mason Williams in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Williams is one of New York's toolsiest prospects. Unfortunately Mason's stock has plummeted in the past year due to concerns over his attitude, and a poor showing in 2013. Despite his poor season prospects often get graded on their potential and they're truly few prospects in baseball with his combination of tools. For this reason he is still considered a top 10 Yankee prospect. 

Vital Statistics:

Bats/Throws: L/R


2011 NYPL (68 gms) AVG/OBP/SLG/WOBA/WRC+                                   .349/.395/.468/.404/148
2012 SALL (69 gms)                                                                                        .304/.359/.489/.381/130
2012 FSL    (22 gms)                                                                                        .277/.302/.350/.331/104 
2013 FSL    (100 gms)                                                                                      .261/.327/.350/.317/95
2013 EAS   (17 gms)                                                                                        .153/.164/.264/.191/8
2013 AZFL (22 gms)                                                                                        .267/.330/.337/.313/84


Mason Williams comes from a good bloodline; his father was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, and played for the New England Patriots. Additionally Williams is also a distant descendant of Walt "no neck" Williams. It was clear from an early age that Mason possessed special athletic ability. WIlliams was so advanced at baseball that his family felt the need to move to Orlando, so that the 13 year old would have some competition.

In high school Mason was shortstop, centerfielder, and a pitcher. Mason led his team to three district championships, and helped his travel team win two Connie Mack championships. His travel team was the Midland Redskins, which is a very competitive team.

His strong pre-draft performance led him being ranked a top 200 prospect. BA ranked him as the 145th prospect in the draft, which coincidentally is where the Yankees took him. To sign him the Yankees offered him 1.45 million dollars, which is well over-slot for a fourth round pick. His bonus was higher than any other Yankee pick.

It didn't take long for Williams to prove he deserved that bonus. Mason began his first full season as a professional baseball player as a member of the Staten Island Yankees. Evaluators loved Mason from the start. Writer David Gershman called him a must see talent in a league where few prospects are.

Mason impressed scouts with a good consistent bat and a terrific glove. BA took note of his performance and ranked him as the best prospect in the NYPL, and the 85th best prospect overall. BA noted that he showed a good eye at the plate for such a young player, and was a plus-plus runner. Additionally in 2011, BA named him the best defensive outfielder, fastest baserunner, and best athlete in the Yankees system.

Mason continued his success in 2012 and quickly advanced out of A ball. Despite his short stay Mason did enough at Charleston to be named as the 9th best prospect in the league and the 32nd best prospect overall. He was named as the best defensive outfielder in the league and the Yankees system. He also was named the systems most athletic player and fastest runner.

His progress didn't entirely slow in High A, but the league seemed to be his first real challenge. Additionally reports began to surface  that he had attitude problems, and wasn't playing as hard as he could. His season ended early as he needed shoulder surgery but overall he held his own in his first taste in High A.

2013 Performance:

Williams started his 2013 season coming off of surgery and getting himself in trouble with the law. Unfortunately things didn't get better as the year went on, as he apparently put on too much weight and started slapping at the ball during games. This led to a disappointing year in Tampa and Trenton. His poor play may also be attributed to a pretty serious sickness he got in the middle of the year.

His performance led to Baseball America ranking him the 19th best prospect in the Florida State League. His ranking was mostly based on his reputation, and represents how much his stock dropped. Before 2013 it looked like he could've been a top 20 prospect in baseball and yet he barely made the top 20 in the FSL.

His poor performance will keep him off most top 100 lists, and now he must rebound in 2014 in order to become a serious prospect again. It's clear from listening to his family's story that he loves the game of baseball but he has to show that love on the field. Because of his lack of hustle the only real positive of his game that scouts were able to see was his elite defense. Scouts also noted that his swing looked better in the cage than it did during games, and it's clear that his Ichiro like approach at the plate isn't working.

Scouting Report:

The prospect that once was compared to Jacoby Ellsbury did not show up last year and that complicates his scouting report.In 2013 he wasn't making hard contact, and slapping the ball. He still showed speed, and great defense but he made people question his bat. 

In 2012 BA seemed to believe he had a power rating of 60, and hitting rating of 60 however he showed neither of those qualities in 2013. While he may show that ability next year it may be more appropriate to begin thinking of him as speed first offensive player. He still has the tools to be an impact player in the future, but must prove that 2012 was a fluke.

One reason to think he will rebound is that he is such a natural athlete. He has great bat control and eye-hand coordination. These aspects of his game are the reason so many thought he could him for a high average. He was once thought to have a plus bat and needs to show that again to be more than a fourth outfielder.


Last year ex-ESPN writer, and current writer Kiley Mcdaniel remarked that Williams reminded him of Jacoby Ellsbury. In the insider only piece, Kiley mentioned that he saw Williams hold his own against top pitching prospect  Dylan Bundy, and that this shows what kind of hitter Mason can become. As of now his projections have been lowered and he may project to have a similar career to former Yankee top prospect Austin Jackson.

2014 Level:

Williams should begin the 2014 season in Double-A Trenton. He will have a lot of competition at that level. The Yankees will have to find playing time for Taylor Dugas, Slade Heathcott, Ramon Flores, Tyler Austin, and Ben Gamels. The Yankees will have to fit all these options, plus a few more, between just two levels. Mason has the talent to start over all these names but he most show the Yankees that he is maturer and healthier than he was in 2013.  

If he rebounds next year the Yankees system will instantly become much better, as he was once thought to be an impact player. Some prospects just have to be humbled sometimes there's still a lot of potential in his game.


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