Baltimore Orioles: Norfolk OF Mason Williams’ Bat Is Gaining Attention
Norfolk Tides OF Mason Williams is hitting well after a slow start to the season. He is gaining attention as a possible outfield option for the Baltimore Orioles.
In a move that may have gone unnoticed by some in the Baltimore Orioles fan base, the team signed free-agent outfielder Mason Williams to a minor league contract on Opening Day. Nick Stevens wrote about the signing here on Birds Watcher.
Williams was assigned to the Norfolk Tides (AAA) where he began the season slowly- after six games he found himself in the midst of a five-game hitless streak and was slashing .053/ .143/ .053. Since that rocky start, Williams has hit .323/ .397/ .597 over the last 18 games (as of 5/2) with four home runs and 16 RBIs to raise his average to .259 on the season.
*Updated*- Following the Tides’ game on 5/3 in which he went 1/3 with one run scored, one double and one walk, Williams is slashing .262/ .347/ .464 in 2019.
Williams is on a tear where he has recorded a hit in four straight games and five of his last six. He has hit .409 with four home runs and eight RBIs over that stretch.
A left-handed hitter, Williams is torching left-handed pitching with a .455 batting average and .682 slugging percentage. Conversely, he is hitting.194 and slugging .387 against right-handed pitching. No matter the pitcher, Williams comes through with runners in scoring position; he is hitting .318 with 14 RBIs in those situations.
While Ryan Mountcastle and Chance Sisco are deservedly getting the most attention for their offensive output, Williams is moving up the Norfolk leaderboard; he is currently third in home runs and RBIs for the Tides.
Williams is producing extra-base hits at a 36% rate this season but is striking out almost one and a half times more than he walks. He is currently striking out in 17.7% of his at-bats. The one major thing Williams does need to improve on is his ground ball rate which stands at 50%; he needs to drive the ball a bit more than that. We’re seeing what happens to high-groundball rate guys- Richie Martin.
All these numbers and stats have gained Williams attention from many, both in the fanbase and the media, who are starting to call for him to replace Joey Rickard in the Baltimore Orioles lineup. The problem with that is the fact that Williams is not currently on the Orioles 40-man roster and giving him a shot would require DFA’ing someone and there is no real obvious candidate for that move.
Should he continue to hit at his current rate, Williams may very well force the Orioles hand and enter the 2019 outfield mix in Baltimore at some point this season.