By Contributing Writer: Nick Stevens
While the Major League Baseball draft has yet to bring the same media attention as the NFL or NBA drafts, 1,215 high school and college baseball players earned a life-changing phone call over the recently completed, three-day MLB draft process. With the lack of media attention and long path through the minor leagues, most casual baseball fans do not look past the first round or two of their favorite team’s draft selections. Within the group of 41 Baltimore Orioles’ selections, you will find a player worth a deeper look: SS Mason McCoy.
Photo: Baby Birdland
I am anxious to see what sixth round pick Mason McCoy brings to the Orioles. McCoy, a 6’0”, 180 pound shortstop from the University of Iowa, has four years of collegiate experience, along with a summer ball stint in the Northwoods League.
McCoy started his collegiate career at Illinois Central Community College where he was the national Freshman of the Year and a two-time All-American before transferring to Iowa. Mason ended his senior season at Iowa with 83 hits, which led the Big 10. His .328 senior year batting average was a drastic improvement from his .291 junior campaign. The jump came after a summer with the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods league, where McCoy broke the league record for hits with 112.
McCoy has proven that he can make adjustments to his game and succeed. Not only did he increase his hit total, his strikeout rate dropped from nearly 25% his junior year to just under 10% in his senior year. In fact, McCoy improved in nearly every single statistical category his senior year. In 61 games, McCoy finished with a .328/.394/.474/.868 slash line, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 18 doubles, and 7 stolen bases. He even increased his fielding percentage from .951 to .974.
Mason was not drafted in 2016 despite projections that placed McCoy in the top ten rounds. The snub only added fuel to the fire and brought out the best of Mason. McCoy is the type of player the Orioles need in their organization. He’s consistent and a great student of the game as evidenced by his career at Iowa.
I expect Mason to start his professional career with the Aberdeen Ironbirds on Monday. In an interview with pjstar.com after being drafted, McCoy said his favorite player growing up was former Orioles’ SS Miguel Tejada. Tejada had a fantastic Orioles’ career, let’s hope Mason McCoy can achieve the same.
Make sure you are following @BabyBirdland, @CoachNick_14, and @CABoemmelJR on Twitter to keep up with McCoy, and the rest of the Orioles’ 2017 draft class as they begin their professional careers.