ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Former UNC Greensboro baseball standout Chris Mason has added yet another baseball honor to his long list of accomplishments this season. The 23-year-old righthander from Cherryville, NC was named the MiLB.com’s Double-A Starting Pitcher of the Year after going 15-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 28 starts with the Montgomery Biscuits.
A second-round draft pick for Tampa Bay in 2005, Mason has already nabbed the Southern League Pitcher of the Year, was twice-named the SL Pitcher of the Week, and was named as both a midseason and postseason All-Star. Along with his individual achievements, he and the Biscuits grabbed the Southern League championship title this season after a 3-2 series win over the Huntsville Stars. With the win the Biscuits become the first team since the 1975-77 Montgomery Rebels to repeat as Southern League Champions. It was also the city of Montgomery’s seventh title, the most in Southern League history.
When asked about his most recent honor, Mason told MiLB reporter Danny Wild, “It’s a great accomplishment and I’m honored to be selected for it...it’s an individual award and someone has to get it, so I was lucky enough that I had a good season and I got it.”
Montgomery manager Billy Gardner, Jr. had nothing but praise when asked about his pitching ace.
“Chris Mason was the anchor of our staff, Garder told MiLB.com, “At the end of the day, we finished the season with one starting pitcher in the rotation who started with us on Opening Day, and that was Chris Mason.”
Gardner applauded Mason on his pitching profile and noted that he has a lot of pluses on his side, especially if he continues as a starter.
Mason led the Southern League in wins and was second among Double-A pitcher in victories behind the Texas League’s Josh Geer.
In 2005, Mason was selected 56th overall in the Major League Baseball First-Year Draft. That was the highest a Spartan baseball player has ever been selected, surpassing Brian Moehler’s sixth-round selection in 1993. He was one of 10 right-handers chosen out of the 31 pitchers picked by the Rays that year. Earlier that year, the Cherryville, NC native was named the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year by the Southern Conference Sports Media Association and was selected to the first team all-conference by the league’s head coaches.
As a Spartan, Mason finished the 2005 season with a 6-7 record and a league-leading 2.80 ERA. His 135 strikeouts, eight games completed, and 118.2 innings pitched set new single-season records at UNCG. He was a four-time SoCon Pitcher of the Week and was named one of Louisville Slugger’s National Players of the Week after striking out a school-record 16 batters against East Tennessee State on March 25, 2005.
At the plate, Mason was second on the team with a .324 batting average and collected seven home runs and 15 stolen bases.
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