Week: 5 G, 19 AB, .474/.545/.842, 9 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K, 0/0 SB, .571 BABIP
2021 Season: 19 G, 51 AB, .373/.458/.569, 19 H, 7 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 7 BB, 9 K, 2/2 SB, .439 BABIP
Mason Williams was drafted by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Florida. The two sides agreed to a $1.5 million signing bonus, buying Williams out of his commitment to the University of South Carolina. Over the next few of years, he would work his way up the Yankees minor league ladder, hitting well at every stop and turning into one of the best prospects not only in their system, but in all of baseball. His streak of success came crashing to a halt in 2013; he did not look like the same playing following 2012 labrum surgery, he was arrested for DWI that April, he struggled against Double-A pitchers all season, and he earned himself some in-house fines and suspensions for not hustling and similar baseball faux pas.
Despite the problems, the Yankees did not give up on him, and in June 2015, they called him up to the majors when Jacoby Ellsbury injured himself. He did fairly well for himself in his first taste of the big leagues, appearing in 8 games and hitting .286/.318/.571 with 3 doubles and a home run, but he injured his shoulder and needed season-ending surgery. Though he got a handful of call-ups with the Yankees in 2016 and 2017, he could not find any permanent footing in their outfield and he elected for free agency at the end of the 2017 season.
Williams signed a minor league with the Reds and spent the first half of the season playing for the Louisville Bats, their Triple-A affiliate, but got promoted to Cincinnati in the second half of the season and hit a solid.293/.331/.398 in 51 games. He re-signed with Cincinnati but couldn’t land a spot on their major league team and opted to be released in spring training, signing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles for the 2019 season and re-signing after it ended for the 2020 season. He spent the majority of his time in Baltimore in Triple-A, getting into a handful of games at the MLB level in 2019 and 2020; when he did accrue major league service time, he did not hit particularly well. On April 15, 2021, Williams signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets and was assigned to the Syracuse Mets, hitting an impressive .373/.458/.569 in 19 games and earning himself a call-up to the majors.
A career .291/.346/.411 hitter in six Triple-A seasons—all in the International League and its 2021 spinoff, the Triple-A East—Williams is very much a hit-over-power player; he has 27 home runs in 384 Triple-A games to his name. A well-built, 6’1”, 195 lbs., Williams looks like he should hit for more power but a fairly linear swing path with low launch angles and exit velocity makes him more of a slap hitter, spraying ground balls and line drives around the field.
An outfielder who can play all three positions, his defensive abilities may not be as impressive as they were when he was younger—at his peak, many considered Williams an above-average-to-plus defensive center fielder—but he still reads the ball off the bat well, has great instincts, has a bit of speed left in the tank, and an excellent arm.
Week: 1 G (1 GS), 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER (0.00 ERA), 3 BB, 7 K, .077 BABIP
2021 Season: 5 G (5 GS), 24.2 IP, 15 H, 11 R, 11 ER (4.01 ERA), 15 BB, 15 K, .203 BABIP
This was literally the best game Franklyn Kilome has ever had as a professional. With a Gamescore of 79, it beat the78 that he had on September 4, 2016, when he was still with the Phillies pitching for Lakewood BlueClaws and threw six scoreless innings with 2 hits and 10 strikeouts against the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
The 2021 season has been a mixed bag for Kilome so far; including his excellent game last week, where he threw 6.2 no-hit innings and nearly threw a seven-inning no-hitter, he has a 4.01 ERA in 24.2 innings, with 15 hits allowed, 15 walks, and 15 strikeouts. Triple-A East Northeast batters are hitting .179 off of him and slugging .274, which is excellent, but because of all of the walks, they are getting on base at a .333 clip, which is subpar to say the least.
The starkest difference between Kilome right now and his performance last season is his fastball; the pitch has a lot of sink and he has only allowed one home run in his 24.2 innings, as opposed to the 5 that he allowed in 11.1 innings with the Mets in 2020. Thomas Szapucki is the only other starter on the Syracuse Mets with double-digit innings pitched and 1 home run allowed; Jesus Reyes has allowed 8 in 27.2 IP, Jared Eikoff has allowed 7 in 33.0 IP, Jordan Yamamoto has allowed 3 in 9.2 IP, and various relievers have allowed 2 or 3. Across all of Triple-A East baseball, Griffin Jax of the St. Paul Saints, Jackson Kowar of the Omaha Storm Chasers, and Drew Stotman of the Durham Bulls are the only other pitchers with a comparable amount of innings pitched as Kilome who have given up fewer home runs.
Triple-A baseball is not Major League Baseball, of course. The same ball is being used, but the hitters are obviously not of the same caliber. There is no guarantee that if Kilome were promoted to the Mets, he would not begin giving up home runs left and right again, but, obviously, it is good to see the 25-year-old performing well.
Players of the Week 2021
Week One (May 4-May 8): Francisco Alvarez/Tylor Megill
Week Two (May 9-May 15): Antoine Duplantis/Tylor Megill
Week Three (May 16-May 23): Francisco Alvarez/Franklin Parra