"I thought my first Spring Training went pretty good," Mason Williams said. "They worked on me a little bit with my hitting, getting me to use more of my legs. Before I was more of a slap hitter so they taught me to use my legs more to drive the ball better. Defensively nothing really changed."
With just five official minor league games under his belt to his credit, this was his first Spring Training camp ever and he certainly felt like he belonged.
"I felt pretty comfortable," he added. "Even though it was just Spring Training, it was like another game to me. I play the game hard and try to play it right every time."
Despite consistently making some incredible highlight film-type defensive plays in the outfield and more than holding his own offensively, Williams was held out of the long-season leagues in favor of getting some more seasoning in Extended Spring Training.
"I was obviously disappointed but at the same time I told myself ‘I'm going to have to take this opportunity to get better, learn some things, and work my way up from there," he said.
He and the Yankees continued to work on using his legs more in his swing and even though it has only been a couple of weeks he can already see a difference.
"I definitely feel like, from a hitting standpoint, that my swing has become a lot stronger and a lot more aggressive," he said. "Hopefully I'll keep going on the path that I'm on now and work my way up sooner than later."
Not really focusing on taking a lot of pitches and working the count as a true leadoff hitter would, Williams is spending the majority of his time getting the mechanics down of using his legs more in his swing.
"It's a lot more second nature now," he opined. "I was more of a slap hitter. I'd try and slap the ball over the shortstop's head and into the gap, but now I'm actually driving the ball more into both gaps and I'm using my speed."
He has yet to hit any home runs at the minor league complex in Extended Spring Training games, but he says is lining the ball a lot more frequently into both gaps and he believes he is becoming a different hitter than when he first signed with the Yankees.
"I'm a lot better," he said. "I feel like a smarter hitter, figuring out which pitches are going to come to me in which counts now. Before when I was in a 2-0 count I thought I would see a fastball.
"Some good pitchers here now will come with a changeup or come with a curveball. They come with their best pitch and that's not always a fastball. I'm more prepared for it.
"When I was slapping the ball I would kind of use a one-hand swing to try and hit the ball on the ground and use my speed to beat it out. Now that I'm using my legs, I'm staying back [in my stance] and driving the ball more."
Williams Using His Legs More
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