In many ways the 2014 season was a year of redemption for the Yankees farm system. Almost anything that could go wrong, did go wrong in 2013, but in general 2014 was a pretty good season. A lot of the team’s most promising prospects stepped up last season. However, a few things did go wrong in 2014. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the 2014 season was the disastrous season of Mason Williams.
A couple of years ago Williams was considered the Yankees best prospect, and was described as the complete package. He had plus speed, plus defense, and knew how to hit, Baseball America even thought he would have good power. He was supposed to be the guy that stepped up when Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher were ready to leave. That has obviously not happened and he has had back-to-back awful years.
To put his struggles into perspective I am going to list a series of important stats and put his rank in the league in parenthesis next to the stat total. In 2014 Williams’s average was .223 (139th), his OBP was .290 (138th), his SLG was .304 (142nd), and his OPS was .594 (145th). While some would just look at his incredibly low BABIP of 0.248, and call him unlucky, the fact of the matter is that it might tell us about his hustle. He was benched several times last year for not hustling out grounders, which is really what someone with his speed should be doing.Really the only positives in his game last season was that he didn’t strikeout a lot (just 12.1%) and he finished the year strong with a .770 OPS in August (only played 1 game in September).
Other than that small glimmer of hope, fans should be extremely worried that Williams has busted. Of course he still has time but things don’t look good at the moment. For a guy his speed to not hustle down the line is inexcusable, especially when most of the balls he puts into play are grounders. Of the 418 balls Williams put into play, 240 of them were grounders. Most of these grounders were to second, but that’s no excuse to not use your speed.
Because of his struggles, and overall raw talent he will be an interesting name to follow in the upcoming rule-5 draft. If the Yankees do protect him, it will also show us if they believe, which means there is still hope for him as a prospect. I would personally protect him in the upcoming rule-5 draft, because the talent might still be there, and his combination of speed and defense might help stick as a rule-5 pick.
Another angle to follow, is the whether or not Greg Colbrunn can help fix him. Afterall Mason did his best work with Colbrunn as his hitting coach, and has struggled since he left the Yankees. Of course this could be a coincidence, but anything is possible. Hopefully Mason does rebound, because it would really boost the Yankees system and give them a useful player/trade chip.