Mason Black, RHP
DOB: 12/10/1999
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2021, 3rd Round

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GiantFutures 2023 Ranks: #10 Overall, #3 Starting Pitcher

2022 Performance: Mason Black had a very successful pro debut season, raising excitement quickly.  Black began the season in San Jose, posting a 1.57 ERA over eight starts, striking out 44 and walking just eight in 34.1 innings.  That led to an late May promotion to High-A Eugene.  Black faced more ups and downs in Eugene, finishing the season with a 3.94 ERA over 16 starts, with 92 strikeouts to eight walks in 77.2 innings.

Black was very effective against hitters on both sides of the plate.  As a right-hander, Black actually held left-handed hitters to a lower batting average (.205 compared to .245), but gave up more walks and hit more batters to them, as well as more home runs to lefties.  But overall, he gave up just a .658 OPS to lefties, and a .651 OPS to righties.

Black ended up being one of just four pitchers in the Giants system who averaged more than 10 strikeouts and less than three walks per nine innings with more than 100 innings thrown.

Strengths and Weaknesses: Black’s best pitch is a new slider that he throws in the mid-80’s, and he uses it to get strikeouts when he needs them.  He pairs it with a plus fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can reach higher.  He’s also working on a changeup that he didn’t use much to give him a third pitch.

Black’s control is also one of his biggest assets, along with his intelligence and the work he puts into his game.  He can use his arsenal to the best of its ability, and should be able to make changes and adjustments as he needs moving up the system.

2023 Outlook: Richmond awaits the 23-year old, where he’ll need to make better use of his changeup to deal with the more advanced hitters.

Future Profile: Black has two plus pitches and the ability to use them, but he could very easily end up either as a starter or a reliever.  At this point, starter seems more likely and the Giants will continue to push him in that role.  But if his changeup doesn’t improve as hoped, he could be a top late-inning reliever in the mold of Brian Wilson with more control.