Mason Black, RHP, SF

Mason Black was a 3rd-rounder in 2021 who got off to a hot start in 2022. How’s he done since?

Video courtesy of Baseball.
  • Born: December 10, 1999
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’3″, 230-lbs
  • Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 2021 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Indeed, his Single-A results were top-notch all round. Nothing to complain of, and since the Giants didn’t complain, they simply moved him up to High-A.

There he backed up all round. The walks edged up, not a real problem, but the strikeouts dropped by a third, the hits gained, and now we are looking at a mediocre pitcher. Or are we?

He moved to High-A after one start in June, so most of June, all of July and into August, were done at High-A. Note that his A-ball walks were actually a bit higher then we thought, but his great May made up for only a good April.

Not surprising to see him move to High-A, and there the adjustment was harsh. A K%-BB% of 10% is in the dictionary at the antonym of dominant.

Then in July he got more strikeouts, though the walks were not idea still. Though his last start, the only one in August, he struck out 5 of the 15 batters he faced.

All in all, a good pitcher, not a great pitcher. Any reports from the field? Yes, in late June we have this from Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs:

Mason Black, though his overall stuff quality merited a move up the list, was up to 100 mph during the spring but is more in the 93-95 range now.

So Mason is showing good skills, but not quite as exciting as we thought back in spring when he was reaching triple digits.

In Single-A vs RHB: struck out 35% of RHB, walked 7%. Vs LHB: struck out 30% walked 5%.

In High-A vs RHB: struck out 27% of RHB, walked 5%. Vs LHB: struck out 23%, walked 10%.

He does better, especially in High-A, against righties. Not enough to be definitive, but something to keep an eye on.

The Scouts

Warnings

The scouts are beginning to notice, but lower down on their lists.

While he did great at Single-A, he has done only average at High-A. Is this a trend that will manifest to an even greater degree in Double-A?

Conclusion

While he has somewhat righted the ship in July and August, the walks are still an issue. What is not an issue is that he can strike guys out. But if he doesn’t get the walks under control (see what I did there?), he could wind up a bullpen piece against RHB.

If he does show better control, he has enough strikeout ability to be a back-end rotation starter. For him the Double-A test will be crucial. That’s where his future role will be determined.

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