Major League Mason
Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com
Rocky Mountain's baseball season didn't end as planned. The Grizzlies were bounced in the quarterfinals of the state tournament, but for senior center fielder Mason Smith- when one door closes, another opens.
Smith was selected by the San Diego Padres in the Major League Baseball draft Friday (4th round, #118 overall).
Smith signed a letter of intent to play for Utah in February, but the Utes' coach recommended that if Mason was drafted in the first five rounds, he should skip college ball. That's just what Smith intends to do. An added incentive? The Padres will pay for every penny of Smith's education if he chooses to go back to school at some point.
Mason said he found out he was selected by San Diego- not from his agent- but on the MLB Network.
"We were kind of shocked because my dad said the Diamondbacks were going to pick me, so we were just waiting for them," explained Mason. "Then two picks before, the Padres (selected me). I just heard my name and my heart kind of stopped and i just didn't know what to do."
MLB scouts tabbed Smith as a bit of a project, citing Idaho's lack of baseball talent. That may explain why he didn't come off the board until the fourth round. For Mason, the lack of respect is just fuel to his competitive fire.
"I think that gives me a little drive and a little chip on my shoulder going into all this," said Smith. "I like to prove people wrong... People from Idaho do have talent."
Mason will meet with the San Diego Padres staff and sign an entry-level contract early next week.