Home-schooled pitcher from Atlanta area intrigues scouts for Monday’s MLB draft

Connor Mason has a different background than most pitching prospects for Monday’s major-league baseball draft.

Connor Mason (Photo by Cheryl Mason)

Connor Mason (Photo by Cheryl Mason)

Mason was home schooled from kindergarten until his recent graduation.

The Suwanee resident has signed a baseball scholarship with Rice. Mason, who has been clocked at 94 mph, was projected to be drafted within the top 10 rounds before a recent elbow injury.

“He was really looking forward to making a statement to the baseball scouts this spring, ” said his father, Mike Mason. “Maybe a team will still draft him. But if he ends up going to Rice, then that’s a great thing, too.”

How did Mason do it? How did he earn the Division I baseball scholarship and get looks from pro scouts while being a home schooled student? Mason got high visibility after playing for club teams during the summer and fall seasons the past three years. MLB’s scouting service called earlier this week to get an update on Mason.

“I definitely think he’s still going to get drafted despite the injury, ” said Ryan Sterling, head instructor at the 6-4-3 DP Baseball Academy.

“The scouts have seen Connor enough times, and they know what he can do. They love the way he makes everything look effortlessly with his [pitching technique]. They like his frame — the real long arms and the wide shoulders — and they see someone who can throw with a lot of velocity with little effort.

“He will get drafted. Whether or not he takes [the opportunity] is another story. School is very important to Connor.”

Mason grew up in Virginia Beach, Va., and moved to the Atlanta area five years ago. His father has been a Delta pilot for 22 years, which played a factor in the couple’s decision to home school both Connor and his sister, Jessie Mason, who is a sophomore on Georgia Tech’s swim team.

Pitching for Team USA (Cheryl Mason)

Pitching for Team USA (Cheryl Mason)

“Every year we asked our kids ‘Should we continue doing the home schooling or not? Every year, they wanted to continue, ” Mike said. “We were able to do a lot of traveling, which we think is an important part of the education process.”

For nearly a dozen years, the Mason family traveled for four months each year, visiting places such as Europe, Asia, Australia and Hawaii. The world tour slowed a bit when Connor earned a spot on USA Baseball’s Junior National Team in 2007.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Mason played on the same elite team with Bryce Harper of Las  Vegas, who is projected to be Monday’s No. 1 overall pick by the Washington Nationals. The two roomed together for Team USA tournaments to Mexico and Venezuela during the past two summers.

In the springs, Mason played baseball for the Greater Gwinnett Christian Barons, which is made up of home schooled students from the area. They compete against GISA private schools. Mason was injured in his first pitching outing in March.

Georgia Tech swimmer Jessie Mason (Ga. Tech)

Georgia Tech swimmer Jessie Mason (Ga. Tech)

“It was cold that night, I threw a fastball and felt pain, ” Mason said. “I got it checked out and was diagnosed with a bone avulsion [ligament or tendon attached to the bone pulls away from the bone].

“Surgery wasn’t required. I just shut everything down and let it heal. I feel like I’m back at 100 percent and am scheduled to start throwing again next week.”

Note: According to major-league scouts, this projects to be one of the strongest classes for Georgia high school players in years. Here are some other top prospects for the the June 7 draft:

Blessed Trinity OF Jake Skole (Georgia Tech football OR MLB?)

Cook RHP Kaleb Cowart: Georgia’s No. 1 HS pitcher throws 97 mph, but has heart set on 3B

Woodward CF Delino DeShields (The first Georgia HS player to be drafted???)

Marietta CF Chevez Clarke (The five-tool player? Enough power?)

North Gwinnett 3B Chris Hawkins (Mr. Clutch with 32-game hitting streak to end year)

Wheeler OF Dale Carey (Another first-rounder from Cobb school?)

Collins Hill LHP James Buckelew (The next American Idol? Just gets people out)

11 comments Add your comment

freedyg

June 4th, 2010
9:15 pm

GT Fan

June 5th, 2010
12:57 am

Jessie looks good! Hope all the GEORGIA Kids go high in draft and best of Luck. Maybe Braves can get one or two Ga-boys.

DawgMan

June 5th, 2010
2:25 am

I hope the Braves draft Connor because I’d sure like to see his model sister at Turner Field. wowowow

Remarkable

June 5th, 2010
8:16 am

Some parents can home school amd some cannot. The ones that can also make sure their kids are well rounded in other areas too. I’m just glad this kids parents were the ones that could. I’ve seen too many others who were harmed for life by being taught poorly at home.

ppak

June 5th, 2010
10:47 am

Still, home school kids are better off than public school kids

DNice

June 5th, 2010
11:50 am

I am a product of public schools and think I turned out pretty well. High school honor graduate- Check Baseball/Academic scholarship- Check, Honor graduate college- Check, No criminal record- Check, Military Officer- Check, Good husband and father- Check.

I think you get the point here. Congrats to the kid and his parents for seemingly raising 2 great kids because education starts at home not at the public or private school.

Michelle

June 5th, 2010
7:01 pm

What an inspiration! I have a Little League pitcher and catcher here. Just the other day, my son asked me how you get scouts to see you play if you don’t go to high school. He is 8 years old and homeschooled with his brother and sister. He is already making plans for his future. I showed him this article and both the boys just grinned from ear to ear.

Robin

June 6th, 2010
7:36 am

Way to go Masons!

ppak

June 6th, 2010
10:58 am

Of course, there are many great scholars from public school, including youself, DNice. But I’m talking about in an average.

gsu927

June 7th, 2010
5:33 pm

here’s a nice video of Connor with USA Baseball fielding, pitching and hitting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeJs_A8YFDk

Hannah

June 8th, 2010
12:57 pm

It was fun being part of your Europe Tour :) )
Kisses from Germany. Hannah & Pe :*