Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Prospect Opens Eyes

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Prospect Opens Eyes

Article excerpt

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mason Williams has his nearly 2,000 followers on Twitter, a number that will keep multiplying as his status climbs.

Baseball America magazine pegged him as last year's top prospect in the Class A New York-Penn League and the fastest runner in the Yankees' organization. His potential as a five-tool center fielder has filled volumes of glowing scouting reports.

"If you watch him three games you get a 'wow' sometime in those three games," said Mark Newman, the Yankees' senior vice president of baseball operations.

Williams, 20, hears about how he's moved beyond the shadows and replaced Jesus Montero as the most-talked-about Yankee prospect.

"I'm absolutely fine with everything that's going on," Williams said.

Connecting with friends, family and fans on Twitter is about Williams' limit on the Internet.

If he learns about how high he's ranked on this list or that, "it'll be one of my friends telling me or one of the coaches," Williams said. "I just try to come in and get my work done every day."

On Sunday night, Williams went to work in a big-league uniform for the first time - leaving the sun-baked fields of the Yankees' minor league complex for the team bus to Ed Smith Stadium.

Added to the Yankees' travel list against the Orioles, Williams singled in his only at-bat and was caught stealing second in Baltimore's 6-3 victory.

"He showed me he doesn't fear, and he has plan," manager Joe Girardi said of the Yanks' fourth-round pick in 2010, who was signed to a $1.45 million bonus. "I've heard just wonderful things about him, defensively and offensively.

"After what he did last year, you kind of want to throw the kid a bone [and let him play]."

Playing at Class A Staten Island, the lefty-hitting Williams batted .349 in his first full professional season with 11 doubles, six triples and three homers in 269 at-bats.

"He's been more than we anticipated," Newman said. …

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