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Getting to Know the Future: Mason Williams

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The Yankees went young this year in the draft- choosing (again) tools and projection over sure things and lower ceilings.

This leads some analysts to suggest that the Yanks had one of the worst drafts of the year.  Not only is that jumping the gun (by this logic, 2008 was a great draft, but the Yanks didn't sign their top picks), it fails to take into account the realities of a mandate to win and a $200M payroll. The Yankees don't need another Ramiro Pena-esque backup.  A Melky Cabrera type is useful while his salary is low, but league average isn't what the Yankees are aiming for.  Of their 30 some picks, the Yankees need to find one Phil Hughes, one Robinson Cano.  Do that, and suddenly 2010 is a great draft year.

I'm starting the draft review with the player who has the best baseball name.  Mason Williams grew up in Pawtucket, which means he probably grew up a Red Sox fan (eww).  I'll try not to let that cloud my judgment of him.

While the local editorial thinks that Williams will head to the University of South Carolina, BronxBaseball reports Baseball America suggesting that college won't be a concern.

An interesting name came up as a comp as I researched Mason: Doug Glanville. I'll admit that one of the things I've enjoyed best about Glanville's career is his periodic NYTimes columns, but I'll take a centerfielder with excellent range, an above average arm, and enough bat to hold his own in center, even if it's a little light on power.  The consensus is that Mason's best tool is his speed, and that power is his lowest.  Listed at 6'1" and 160lbs., there's definitely room for the 18 year old to grow.  But more importantly, as many Yankee fans have been reminded by the emergence of Brett Gardner, speed with a good eye and decent contact skills can be as much fun to watch as swing and miss power.

PerfectGame.org, a scouting service, says a couple more things about the 4th round pick that I really like: "line drives to all fields" and "recognizes pitches."  I presume that the Yankees saw those same tools because that's a very polished 18 year old- most high schoolers are in pull-all-the-time mode.