Drafted by the Marlins in the 19th round of the 2014 MLB Amateur draft, switch-hitting infielder Mason Davis, who models his game after All-Star shortstop Jimmy Rollins, was finally given the opportunity to pursue his dream of becoming a Major League Baseball player. This is a dream he’d pursued since his days at Reden High School, the same Georgia high school that produced the Major League studs Domonic Brown, Wally Joyner and Brandon Phillips. It’s also the school where Davis lettered in baseball all four years - batting .340 and thieving 21 total bases his senior season.
Unfortunately for Davis, standing at 5’9" and weighing in at 175 lbs., he was labeled as an undersized prospect coming out of high school. Not drafted in the 2011 MLB Amateur draft after his senior season, he signed a scholarship offer to play baseball for The Citadel in Charleston, SC. In 2012 he was named to the SoCon All-Freshman Team after playing all 58 games at second base and showcasing his wheels by swiping 14 bags during this freshman campaign. It wasn't until his sophomore year in 2013 that Mason really reached his pinnacle at the plate - batting .306 by the end of the season, and once again playing every game at second base for the Bulldogs. During his draft year the following season, Davis continued that same upward statistical trend and landed on the Marlins radar. As a Citadel junior, he batted a collegiate career high of .310 at the plate and paired that with a career best 27 stolen bases. This was enough to impress the Miami Marlins cross-checker and cement his name as the 19th pick on their draft board for the 2014 MLB Amateur draft.
It didn’t take long for Davis to weigh his options and make up his mind. It was either head back to The Citadel to finish his senior season or take that first step forward towards reaching his dream of becoming a big league baseball player. It’s easy to see which door he opened. He hit the ground running once signing with the Marlins, being sent to play for the minor league affiliate, the Batavia Muckdogs in the NY-Penn league. Continuing that hot collegiate swing, he pounded out a .319 average at the plate with a .369 BABIP to go along with nine swiped bags over the course of 248 plate-appearances. That was enough to be named to the NY-Penn League All-Star Game in Brooklyn, NY.
Towards the end of his first season of professional ball, Davis was promoted to Low-A Greensboro - a team in a heated playoff race in the South Atlantic League. He gained invaluable experience as part of this successful Grasshoppers team. Seeing time at both second base and in the outfield, he was able to produce a minimum sample-sized slash line of .259/.355/.333 in 31 plate appearances. This is a line he will be determined to improve upon when he steps up to the plate again in 2015 - the beginning of Mason Davis’s first full professional season. This will be a season that Davis hopes will become the first of many in his quest to don the Marlins Major League uniform.
Additional Insight into Mason Davis: An interview conducted by Scott Sypien called Seven Questions with Mason Davis.
1. What was draft day like for you? What were you doing when you got the news the Marlins had selected you?
I was anxious that day, probably like everyone is on draft day. Me and my brother we were going to grab a bite to eat together and my adviser called me and said the Marlins were going to take me. The Marlins called shortly after and told me they selected me and congratulated me. I was real excited after that, I had talked to the Marlins once or twice but I didn’t know how interested they were until they selected me.
2. What was the most difficult thing for you jumping from the college ranks to the professional level?
One of the most difficult things for me was stealing bags. The speed of the game is close but it’s definitely a bit faster. The pitchers throw harder and your facing everyone’s Friday night guy now every time you go out there and compete.
3. A big part of your game is your ability to switch hit. What made you become a switch hitter and what challenges do you have to maintain hitting from both sides of the plate?
When I was younger we would go out and play with a tennis ball on this little field and one of the rules was if you wanted to hit a home run you had to do it from the opposite side. We would always switch hit to try to hit the home run. I stuck with it and my dad worked with me on it. I started doing it in games and I stuck with it. I feel like I’m pretty equal on both sides but once you get into a good rhythm from one side of the plate and then you switch over to the other side it does feel a little weird. I’m naturally a right-handed hitter but I feel way more comfortable left-handed due to the fact that there is so many more right-handed pitchers out there.
4. You had the honor of representing Batavia and the Marlins in the NYPL All-Star game. How did you find out the news you were selected and how did it feel to play in the game itself?
I was sitting in the locker room and someone came by and congratulated me. I didn’t even know what for and then they told me I made the all-star team. It was a pretty cool feeling. Brooklyn was a real nice place and it was really a fun experience. I got to meet a lot of different guys from different organizations. Everyone was really nice and it was just a great experience being able to represent the Marlins at the game.
5. After spending most of your season with the Batavia Muckdogs you got promoted near the end of the season to Greensboro. How did you get the news of your promotion and how did it feel?
After the games our coaches would call a couple of players in the office to talk and everyone would always talk and say things like this is it your going up. You have a lot of fun with that. One day I got called in, I didn’t expect it and he told me that I was getting promoted. It felt really good and it felt great that people took noticed of everything I was doing and I was being rewarded for it. Being in Greensboro at the end of the season was awesome. I was right in the playoff race and I got to play in two playoff games and that was a great experience. I wish we could have stuck around a little longer but it happens like that sometimes. Greensboro had a great atmosphere, the experience was great and I had a great time.
6. Speed is a big element of your game throughout your college and now professional career. Why is speed an important part of the game you play?
Speed is a big part of baseball and a big part of my game. With me being the size that I am, there is no way I’m ever going to be a big home run guy. Most of the time people want me to be the guy who gets on base, steals some bases and scores some runs. That’s going to be a big part of my game throughout my career and I need to keep working on those aspects of my game. Stealing bases, I had a lot of success in college but once I got to the next level it was harder and I have been working real hard on that.
7. In 2014 you played all over the diamond. Everyday when you saw your name in the lineup there was a good chance you were penciled in somewhere different. Did you like playing all over the field in your first year of professional baseball?
I just want to be on the field. As long as I’m in the line up and on the field it doesn’t really matter what position I’m playing its fine with me.