2016 Statistics: Triple-A - 31 games, .296/.313/.376, 1 SB, 93 wRC+ MLB - 12 games, .296/.321/.333, 77 wRC+
2017 Roster Status: Under team control, on the 40-man roster
Mason Williams looked pretty good in his first taste of the big leagues in 2015, but a shoulder injury ended his season and cost him the vast majority of 2016. Once Williams was finally healthy again, other options, like Aaron Judge, were ready and more desirable to use in a regular role.
The Yankees kept Williams kicking around Triple-A for 31 games where he barely walked and hit for virtually no power. The power thing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as that hasn’t been a huge part of Williams’ game, but walking only 3.6% of the time won’t cut it as a big leaguer with his skill set.
Mason did get a short stint back in the majors for 12 games, but the story was pretty much the same. His average alone looked pretty decent, but the other two numbers that make up his triple slash left quite a bit to be desired. His base stealing ability has also dried up over time which further limits his value offensively.
Defensively, Williams continues to be an asset. Unfortunately, that seems to be his one above average quality at this point. Maybe he will improve his numbers at the plate if he manages to put together a full, healthy season, but he’s going to need to prove he can do that soon.
Unless Williams can make the necessary improvements, he could be destined to be nothing more than a defensive replacement. The Yankees have so many other, better outfield options at this point. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner under control and Judge, Clint Frazier, and others knocking on the door, it’s hard to see where Mason fits into the team’s future plans right now.
It’s a bit sad to see Williams’ stock as low as it is right now because of all the promise there was before. Injuries have certainly taken their toll, as well as numbers naturally not being as shiny once the competition the prospect faces improves. If Williams is destined to be a fourth outfielder type, he’ll have plenty of competition with the Yankees. Maybe there is still hope for more, if only because of what there once was, but that light is definitely fading.