Mason Strong NLI Interview

Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

In today’s edition we talk to 2021 Mason Strong, C/UTL (R/R) 6-0 180 from Snow Canyon HS, UT. Snow Canyon is one of the top teams in the state, and has won a handful of state titles this past decade, they have 2 more D1 signees and a JUCO signee. They also have a 2022 BYU commit and will place another player potentially into D1 from the same class. Snow Canyon will have a loaded ‘21 squad and should be a title contending team once again. Strong verbally committed to Brigham Young U a year ago after receiving 2 other offers. I’ve known Mason since he was a 12 year old, as he lived just down the street from my old home in Santa Clara, UT. Mason would hit with me every couple of weeks for quite a while, with other kids in the neighborhood that have and will go on to play college baseball. We would talk about the talent that was in the few blocks of our homes and say how years down the road, we’ll look back on those days and count up the amount of players who grew up in the same few blocks of each other. Mason has played as much baseball as any amateur baseball player in the state, and his instincts for the game show the countless reps he has put into becoming a D1 signee. Strong has a handful or more of professional scouts attention and will be watched closely during the next spring.

SHORT REPORT: A local St. George, UT product, that’s a well traveled player, while playing with LVR (Las Vegas) on a very successful team and playing good competition. Is playing for the Nevada/Utah Braves Scout team this fall and has been all-tournament in many events, while being named MVP in a big tourney of late. At 505 125 entering his freshman year, Mason is now 600 180 and still has room to fill out and get stronger. A Med lean streamlined build with broad shoulders, He projs another 15 Lbs at maturity. A tireless worker that lives for the game. Plays all around the diamond, but stands out behind the plate. Sits low and gives a good target and shows continued improvement with his receiving. Comes out of the shoot with quick feet, and gets off online throws with a fringe to avg arm at times. The carrying tools is the bat! Hits velo from a classic square even prop stance with some rock to his lower ½ to time his load and foot strike. The ball jumps from a short compact stroke with extension into a two hand full finish. Shows some strength to hit for avg type power down the road. Has hit everywhere he’s played. Solid kid with a good baseball IQ. Committed to BYU

ME: What year in school did the recruiting process begin for you and what was the feeling like, knowing that a school(s) had interest?

Mason: It was my freshman summer and another D1 program really showed a lot of interest in me and offered me a scholarship. It was really exciting and I had always been the smaller kid on my teams and it gave me the motivation to want to work harder and it reinforced that all my hard work was starting to pay off.

ME: What club teams were you involved with as a youth, and were there any of your teammates that have gone on to play college baseball, or committed this week as you have?

Mason: The Southern Utah Wolfpack was a huge influence on my baseball development at an early age, they taught me to play hard and to win. We played over 100 games a year and won like 90% of the time. I then played 2 years at 12-13 yrs old with the younger Utah Marshalls teams for Sam Swenson and we were really competitive. When I went into my HS career I played for the Las Vegas Recruits (LVR) during the summers/fall. This past fall I played for the NV/UT Braves scout team, which was coached by my coach from LVR (Evan Greusel). I also played for Mountain West in some larger tournaments and those teams were stacked. Some of the players I played with that have signed this week, were: Carston Herman-LHP (Dixie State U) Mayze Mosher-3B (CSN) Landon Frei-SS (Utah), Justis Reiser-LHP (BYU), Janzen Kesiel-RHP (BYU), Cameron Day-RHP (Utah), Micah Ashman (Utah), Colton Sundloff-RHP (CS Fullerton), Chandler Reber-CF (BYU), Kyle Lester-SS (BYU), Ty Johnson-C (Gonzaga), Traton Staheli-RHP (BYU). The scout team had a lot of the top Nevada prospects, Garrett Cutting-SS (Oregon), Jacob Walsh-1B (Oregon), Tommy DiLandri-RF (TCU), Tyler Whitaker-UTL (Arizona) and a host of others. Like I said, we were stacked.

ME: Who has been your biggest influence coaching wise or what person and what was it, that made them unique or helpful?

Mason: Definitely my Dad, MIke Strong! He taught me how to work hard and has provided so many opportunities for me to play and be successful. I wouldn't be the person and player that I am, without him. He’s taught me how to stay motivated and stick to my goals and follow through with my dreams and to work hard.

ME: Who is your favorite MLB team and why?

Mason: I like to follow players over teams, because I want to play in the big leagues and hopefully get drafted one day. I’m just a fan of the game and everything involved with the game.

ME: Who is your favorite player and why?

Mason: Kris Bryant - I saw his first spring training game in 2015 and hit 3 HR and a ground rule 2B. I was like, I love this guy and he then went on to win Rookie of the Year and the next year was the MVP and also won the World Series.

ME: What made you decide to commit to BYU, and what made it stand out to you?

Mason: I just had a strong connection with the coaches. My family and I felt it was a really good place to develop and grow as a person and as a ball player.

ME: If you were to describe yourself as a player, what would your strengths be, and what do you need to improve upon to realize your potential?

Mason: I can play any position on the field and I’m a true utility player and I leave it all on the field. I feel like I need to gain 10-15 Lbs. and get stronger and continue to work on my speed, to be able to be and stay versatile.

ME: What piece of advice would you give to players coming from Utah, to help them get recruited, with having college level ability already a given?

Mason: Playing away from home and testing yourself against better competition out of state, while seeing other players from different backgrounds and talent levels. Just get out and play as much as possible.