Williams Turning His Season Around

Williams is batting .350 in his last 29 games

TAMPA, FL - Mason Williams had a strong 2012 season with the high-A Tampa Yankees, ending the season with an average just below three hundred at .298. However, he struggled as he entered into the 2013 Tampa Yankees season. Seeing him struggle early on came as quite the surprise for many but the outfielder has recently regained his confidence and he is improving his approach at the plate.

Statistically, the month of April revealed that Williams was off to a slow start, hitting in the mid two hundreds. It wasn't nearly as bad as his next month, however, after he hit .216/.278./.556 in May. He accounts his drop in these early months to his pitch selection, but he has been working hard to build a better comfort level at the plate.

"I'm feeling comfortable, finally," Williams said. "I feel like I'm seeing more pitches now, like I'm not being so aggressive at the plate. I'm being selective actually and I'm seeing a lot more pitches."

With this new comfort came success at the plate. In June, Williams batted .313 in 22 games.

"I really wouldn't say anything has changed," he said. "It's just me trusting my work, you know, and trusting my ability that I'm going to hit. That's actually the main reason, just trusting my work really and staying with it.

"I wouldn't say I'm pressing as much, but I definitely see that my takes are better and my pitch selection is better. Also, just me feeling more comfortable at the plate and knowing that I'm actually at where I want to be right now."

The left-handed batter is working hard to put his early season frustrations behind him, which seems to have led him into a hot stretch since the end of May.

Tampa Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames attributes Williams previous struggle at the plate to a combination of physical and mental state, as well as approach.

"All of the above," Thames said. "He's a lot more confident right now. When he goes into the box his body knows what it wants to do now.

"In the beginning he was just bailing out on everything and thought he could hit like that, but at this level, in higher levels you've got to make sure you're in a good strong position to hit and that's what he's been doing as of lately. He's been really good lately."

Williams revealed he had been sick and lost weight, laughing as he revealed that the accidental weight loss could be one of the reasons behind his recent success.

"I actually did lose weight," Williams stated. "I was sick for a week so I lost a good ten pounds actually, but I think that might have helped me a lot because ever since I came back from being sick I started playing well."

The statistics are looking much more respectable in the month of July. Williams is hitting .342/.376/.820, and it would seem he's learned how to be more consistent lately at the high-A level.

"The biggest thing to me is finally trusting where I'm at now and seeing where I came from," Williams said. :You know, at the beginning of the year I wasn't successful at all actually, and I wasn't where I wanted to be, but now I'm where I wanted to be and I'm confident. I'm feeling good right now."

Thames noted that Williams is doing a good job at taking what they've worked on in the cage and applying it during the ball game. One thing in particular Williams has improved since the beginning of the season is drive direction.

"His drive direction is a lot better and a lot cleaner," Thames stated. "He's been more consistent with it. In the beginning he'd have one at-bat and his direction was good and the next two or three at-bats it wasn't there. Or the next day, no at-bats it was there. As of late every at-bat he's been good at getting a good strong position to hit and if you do that, you're on time, and he's been pretty good at doing that."

It may have been is first year coaching Williams, but Thames knew he had talent. Many players come into the higher levels wanting to do more, prove more, succeed quicker, and Thames revealed that it's better for these player to stay at the same level they've been at – the level that got them where they are – and everything else will come.

"He's come a long way and I've told him it's a marathon, not a sprint, try and finish," said Thames. "He's been working really hard and I'm really proud of where he's at right now. He' just got to keep it going.

"I mean I saw the work in the cages, and all that stuff that we've been working on since February, it's starting to show up and the results are there. He's only going to get better. I really do believe that, and if he keeps putting in the work he's only going to get better."

There's no doubt that Williams was tested early on in the season, and it may not of been the start he expected, but with hard work and dedication, the 21-year-old has turned his season around.

"I mean, I always expect to play well, but I think part of the game is failing and part of the game is knowing what type of player you are, what type of character you have, and to come back from failure is big for me," Williams concluded.

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