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30. RHP Chris Mason

Background: To some, Chris Mason's 2006 season represented a gigantic disappointment that left his prospect status severely compromised. To others who still saw the potential of the 2005 second round draft pick, he was still a good prospect who had a down year. Somewhere in between is the DRaysBay Top 30 list, which slots Mason in the very last possible position at No. 30. Despite the fact that two of the participants didn't even rank Mason, it was Patrick's ranking of him at No. 19 that allowed him to push past a slew of competitors to claim the final ranked spot.

As the 56th overall pick in the 2005 Amateur Draft out of UNC Greensboro, Mason was originally a two way player when drafted, but was converted to a pitcher exclusively immediately upon entry into the Devil Rays' minor league system. He was impressive in his rookie debut as a relief pitcher in 2005 with SS Hudson Valley, as the Rays tried to ease him into professional baseball without him accumulating too many innings in the minor leagues coming off of the college season. Mason put up a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings of work with Hudson Valley before the Rays saw enough of him to promote him to A- Southwest Michigan, where he finished the season with a 1.45 ERA in 18.2 innings of work.

The new management saw enough of Mason in his 18.2 innings of work in Battle Creek to promote him up to A+ Visalia and the hitter-friendly California League for the following season. Whether this was a wise decision was debatable, but Mason was doing perfectly well in taming the California League before he struggled late in the season. Going into July and August, Mason had a 3.46 ERA through 15 starts, but he struggled mightily over the season's final two months to post a final ERA of 5.02 over 152.1 innings of work. His late season struggles raise the question of whether Mason has the endurance to stick in the system as a starter, but the 22 year old still possesses a decent low 90s fastball with good movement, as well as a hard slurve. He also throws a decent changeup.

Resources: Player Page
TBC Player Page
First Inning Player Page


Patrick-Mason took a step back last year due to his late season struggles, but he was a second round pick not two years ago for a reason. And even though he did struggle on the whole in Visalia, he was still an effective pitcher for most of the season, and his ERA ended up being only slightly over 5. Certainly his struggles lead credence to the suggestion that he may not stick as a starter, but based on his successful 2005 campaign as a relief pitcher, I am firmly convinced that he will be successful in some capacity. I still believe in him.

Chris Mason Prospect Rankings
DRB Jake R.J. Patrick BA Sickels RaysBB
30 UNR UNR 19 23 UNR 25