Williams Pressing

TAMPA, FL - Mason Williams is considered one of the top prospects not only in the Yankee organization but in all of baseball. However, he has gotten off to a slow start this season and he hasn't been able to get it going consistently just yet.

Williams spent the majority of Spring Training rehabbing his shoulder but he's confident his rehab went well.

"I had labrum surgery in the offseason so getting my shoulder back to 100 percent was my main priority," Williams said.

The statistics reveal it has been quite the slow season for Williams with a batting average of just .237 this season entering Sunday's game.

"My numbers really aren't where I want them to be, but the only thing I can really do is keep playing everyday and right now I'm just taking it day by day," he said.

Williams made his way to high-A Tampa from low-A Charleston last season where the pitching is a bit more advanced and adjustments are needed, but only had 22 games under his belt in the Florida State League before hurting his shoulder.

"The pitchers pitch more backwards here rather than they did in the league I played in last year," he continued. "I don't really see as many fastballs as I did last year so that's a huge adjustment."

There is no question that this left-handed batter is pressing at the plate and hitting coach Marcus Thames agrees.

"Pressing? Well, maybe a little bit," Thames said. "He's like Gumbs. Those guys never failed and they're still young so it's hard seeing your numbers fall and sometimes they don't know how to get out of it.

"They get into their own head and try too hard. He's been pressing a little, but here in the last week he's doing a little better."

Recently, the walks are down for Williams and he sported just a .289 on-base percentage for the month of May.

Thames credits these low numbers to Williams' aggressive behavior earlier in counts. It could also simply be just because he just isn't seeing the ball.

"I think it may be a bit of both," Thames opined. "He's been struggling at the plate so he's thinking about his swing right now. We talked about it the other day and he went out and got two walks in a game.

"He's got to see more pitches. He's a leadoff player, setting the tone for the other guys so him taking pitches will help the other guys see what the pitcher has and we can get out there and make some walks.

He jumped out to 16 walks and the he started struggling, started worrying, swinging the bat instead of waiting for a good pitch to hit."

As far as Williams' offensive game is considered, it is not question of can he hit.

"I'd like to see him bunt more," Thames added. "I think it'd help his game. Mason can run, I think he's only has about three [bunt] base hits this season thus far and if he gets 10 to 15, or even 20, I think it'd help him a lot.

"Mason has good hand-eye coordination. He can hit the ball all over the place and like Gumbs if he stays in a good, strong hit position and swings at good pitches he's going to be fine.

"If he keeps working the way he is and staying positive," Thames concluded, "I think he'll be just fine."

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