Birthplace: Winter Garden, FL
Height: 6′ 0″
Stats page: http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=OF&sid=t586&t=p_pbp&pid=592863
Recently, an article on Yankees’ farmhand, Mason Williams, by a baseball writer caught my eye when someone decided to include the word “phenom” to his article’s title. That buzz word generally sparks an interest in a player from fans that love the game. Well, as a former scout, I’m no different.
My Mason Williams research concluded that he’s well on his way to being a 5 tool player. He does have good speed, a decent arm, can cover the outfield like a deer, has better than average eye-hand coordination to be a consistent, good contact hitter, but a phenom must be able to drive the ball. Can he drive the ball? Not yet. The Yankees acknowledge that his power is not there yet, but they project that it will be.
From looking at his 2011 video, it looks like the Yankees’ player development people, i.e., his minor league manager, hitting coach, and roving minor league hitting instructor, will be continuing to change his “swinging gate” swing into a power swing by firming up his front side and adding torque. Kevin Long, Yankees’ hitting coach, might even encourage Mason to model Curtis Granderson’s slightly over exaggerated front shoulder down and in stride combination to emphasize to Williams the need for him to stay closed longer.
I’d suggest some cross sport training with a torque and dynamic linking movement similar to power hitters. Pitchers have done something similar with Dr. Tom House’s football throwing drills to help improve their mechanics. I’ve been using shot and discus power position dry throws(w/o implements) for years with success with hitters. The hitters get a muscle memory feel for coiling during their stride and landing phase and the dynamic linking occurring while uncoiling(like individual firecrackers going off one by one in sequence) after their launching phase begins in their swing.
As a side note that’s related to torque. Scouts have unique terminology that occasionally used among their organization’s scouts. Sometimes, we’d say suspects for prospects and zeros, NP’s, or blobs for no prospects, etc. Years ago after seeing Christopher Walken in a Saturday Night Live skit saying “It needs more cowbell”, I started saying “needs more cowbell” when I saw a hitter with less than a 5 on his power. No, I never wrote it on an actual scouting report that was turned in. I knew better, but for some reason that old thought of missing torque/needs more cowbell popped into my head during my analysis of Mason Williams. That being said, even if he doesn’t ever become the power hitter the Yankees hope for, he will be an exceptionally good player on the Yankees’ major league roster one day.