In-Depth with Baltimore Orioles Draftee Mason McCoy

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HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 03: University of Iowa Hawkeyes infielder Mason McCoy (1) makes solid contact during the Houston Regional baseball game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Texas A&M Aggies on June 3, 2017 at Schroeder Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Baltimore Orioles selected Iowa’s Mason McCoy in the sixth round of the 2017 MLB Draft. McCoy was chosen six picks after teammate Jake Adams went to the Houston Astros. The shortstop spent the past two years playing with the Iowa Hawkeyes, and graduated this past spring. Before moving to Iowa to play baseball, McCoy played for Illinois Central College, a junior college near his hometown.

In-Depth with Baltimore Orioles Draftee Mason McCoy

Mccoy was home when he found out he’d been drafted. He was spending the evening with his family and girlfriend when he got the big news. When asked how he initially felt, McCoy said, “I was shocked at first just because it all happened so fast. But, shortly after, realization set in and all the emotions came out.”

While he was clearly excited about being drafted, he also was determined to keep working. He added, “It feels awesome to finally have completed one of my life long goals and dreams, but I’m not done yet. I won’t stop working until I reach the top.”

Years in Iowa

After spending two years with ICC, McCoy went and played Division I baseball at the University of Iowa. During his first season there, McCoy notched multiple achievements. He was one of just three Hawkeyes to start every game that year, which is impressive enough. On top of that, McCoy hit the first Iowa cycle since 2007, and went 5-7 in that game. The five hits in one game tied the school record. After an impressive series against Penn State, McCoy was awarded a Big Ten Player of the Week. The list of accolades from that season alone goes on and on.

Draft Drama and Post-Draft

Despite all his successes during his junior year, Mason McCoy wasn’t selected in the 2016 MLB Draft. However, being skipped over didn’t phase him.

”The draft was never in the back of my mind just because I was so focused on winning a championship,” he commented.

Instead, he returned to Iowa, where he had an even better senior year. He finished with a batting average of .328 and 25 extra base hits. He also halved his strikeouts, compared to his junior year. At the end of the campaign, Mason was faced with deciding his future. He said he wasn’t too worried about the draft, though: “I was less nervous just because I was trying not to get my hopes up. If [I got drafted] then I would be able to keep playing, but if not I would be applying for nursing school. So, either way, I had a plan.”

Luckily, he didn’t have to go to Plan B. The Orioles helped McCoy check off one more thing from his bucket list by drafting him. McCoy said he was about as nervous going into this one as he was during the 2016 draft. He also said he wanted to have an optimistic about it.

“I didn’t really change my expectations just because I didn’t want to get my hopes up,” McCoy explained. “I was never told what round I was projected, but they did tell me I would either go late Tuesday or early Wednesday.”

Short Season in Aberdeen

One day after the draft, the Orioles signed McCoy. Two days later, the team flew him out to Aberdeen, Maryland. While there, he’ll play with the Aberdeen Ironbirds as a part of the Class-A Short Season.

The quick signing, and assignment to the Class A Short season, shows that the club has faith in McCoy. The 76-game season will be his first test at the professional level, and a time in which he could start establishing more of a name for himself. Overall, McCoy thinks he has what it takes to make it to the show; however, he remains humble.

“I think there is a good chance I can make it. Again it all depends on how I play. I just have to control what I can control and let the rest take care of itself.”

The 22-year-old wants to work as hard as he can during the summer: “[During the off-season I’ll] just work my tail off in the off-season to get stronger and get better at every aspect of the game. I have a lot of support behind me, which makes it a lot easier as well.”

How College Ball Helped

The humble McCoy credits his college years for a lot of what he’s become as a player. Yet, just four years ago, he didn’t even know if he’d play college ball.

“A lot of [young players] are high school draft picks or went to big colleges out of high school. My route was a little different and I wasn’t even going to play in college.”

He did end up playing, and says the extra effort he put in helped establish him as a player.

“I think my work ethic and my experience is something that is the strongest part of my game… all the grinding that I have done since high school and the challenges that I have experienced are something that will push me over the top.”

Living in the same town that he attended junior college in also helped McCoy a lot: “It helped me tremendously. I was able to live at home and focus on baseball 24 hours a day. Also allowed me to develop my skills and get me a scholarship at a Division I school.”

He says his years in Iowa continued to help him round out his game. More than anything, he claims his arm strength improved tremendously with Iowa.

Looking Forward

Mason McCoy is a young player in the Orioles organization. He showed plenty of ability at the plate, while also being a key part of the Hawkeyes defense. He came up big when he needed too, while also staying consistent. It’s safe to assume he hasn’t peaked yet, and will play just as well in the minors. Given his work ethic, it isn’t hard to imagine Mason McCoy making it to the majors one day. Hopefully, he can follow in the footsteps of fellow Central Illinois native Jim Thome and make it into the big leagues.

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