Mason Albright

Former Catoctin High School pitcher Mason Albright has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels, who selected him in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball draft, instead of playing at Virginia Tech.

Mason Albright

While the middle-to-late rounds of the Major League Baseball draft rolled on in mid-July, Thurmont native Mason Albright enjoyed brunch at a Frederick cafe with his sister, his aunt and his cousin.

Albright’s dialed-in interest to the draft had already started to wane. In his words, he had lost a little hope.

A 6-foot, 185-pound left-handed pitcher with a 90-plus mile per hour fastball and a unrelenting drive to get better, he was projected to be selected in the early to middle rounds.

But, once the draft stretched on and the projected signing bonus money dipped to a level that wasn’t going to persuade Albright to give up his Division I scholarship to pitch at Virginia Tech University, it appeared unlikely he was going to be drafted at all.

“The main thing for me was staying true to my number and how I value myself. I didn’t want to go anywhere below that,” he said of any potential financial offer to give up playing college ball to sign with a Major League team.

Brunch was nearly over when Albright’s cell phone rang. The voice on the other end introduced himself and said, “Welcome to the Angels.”

Not only had the Los Angeles Angels just selected him in the 12th round of the draft (No. 351 overall), the team was willing to make him a record financial offer in order to convince him to sign.

“I was super pumped. I was stoked,” Albright said. “I went right home and I hugged my mom and I hugged my dad, and I celebrated the rest of the day with my family. I had so many emotions going through me in that moment, it was definitely super surreal.”

The $1.25 million the Angels offered Albright on July 13 to sign is a record for anyone drafted past the 10th round in the era of bonus-pool money in the Major League Baseball draft. It surpasses the $1.2 million the Brewers offered third baseman Chad McClanahan to sign as an 11th-round pick in 2016.

Albright’s signing bonus is significantly larger than the one Thomas Johnson graduate Branden Kline received from the Baltimore Orioles ($793,700, according to slot value) after being selected in the second round (No. 65 overall) in 2012. That’s the highest draft choice ever spent on a Frederick County baseball player.

According to a report on mlbtraderumors.com, the Angels saved more than a million dollars in the bonus money they gave to No. 9 overall pick Sam Bachman, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound right-handed pitcher out of Miami (Ohio) University.

So, it’s conceivable the Angels used that savings to make an aggressive offer for Albright.

Through conversations with Albright’s agent, the team knew what kind of ballpark figure it was going to take to convince him to sign instead of going to college. So, it didn’t feel like it was wasting a draft pick when it selected him in the 12th round.

“My agent called me [during the draft] and said, ‘If some team offers you $1.25 million today, would you take it?’ I said yes,” Albright said.

After officially signing the deal, Albright is now in Tempe, Arizona, where he is working out, throwing bullpen sessions and trying to establish his new routine in a post-draft mini-camp for the Angels.

He is unsure what the next step will be, as his professional baseball career begins to unfold. But he is excited for the chance to get started.

“Not many kids can say they got drafted out of high school,” he said. “It’s something of a dream come true, honestly.”

The big gamble Albright made on himself had paid off handsomely.

After years of giving up family vacations and school dances to chase his baseball dream, Albright decided to forgo his senior season at Catoctin High School and the chance to chase the state title the Cougars ultimately won to train with other top baseball prospects at IMG Academy in Florida.

The idea was to become a better baseball player and put himself in a better position to get drafted and begin a professional career in the sport.

His family, friends and the other creature comforts of home would not be there in Florida with him.

“I am just super proud of him,” Albright’s father, Gary, said. “Super proud of his commitment. Super proud of his determination. Super proud of his work ethic. It took a lot of sacrifices for him to be where he is right now.”

Gary Albright then added, “The good news is this is just the beginning of the story.”

At Angels mini-camp, Albright is surrounded by like-minded individuals with similar abilities, as the team spent all 20 of its draft picks on pitchers. Albright is the only one who wasn’t already playing in college.

He said the commitment they have already made to him as a 12th-round pick “is definitely something that makes you happy to be part of the organization.”

“They truly believe in what I bring to the table and what I am going to bring to the organization,” he said. “Which makes me even happier to be out here.”

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek

(11) comments

Piedmontgardener

Incredible money for a 10th round pick. Congrats on all your hard work and get that money invested.

buckster

12th round pick.

MD1756

Good for him, but in general people who play sports professionally are way over paid. unfortunately even though I don't want to pay for sports channels on cable, there are no packages that don't include them so I end up being forced to support some of those outrageous salaries. That's why I don't go to professional sports in person because the cost is too high. I'd rather my hard earned money go to some deserving charitable organization.

phydeaux994

You have cable TV?? Why do you need cable TV MD? I bet you have Internet too. How about a Smart Phone? I thought you were anti-Internet/cable/5g phone.

MD1756

I only got a cell phone in September last year when I set up phone and cable service for my parents in an assisted living facility, and then I only got it when they lowered their price to $4 a month. And because I can't get away from paying for sports channels I don't want, I've been seriously considering eliminating cable since there are other options and I primarily watch channels I can pick up over the air except during storms. I have no problem paying for things I use , after all it's only fair. I also have no problems paying into social programs that help everyone (even education), but I don't like paying more for a service I don't use than those who do use the service (sports channels, schools, etc.). I am not against 5g I am against publicly financed high speed internet when satellite and DSL are available and one can get DSL speeds that match the fiber optic speeds I pay for.

MD1756

By the way, the most I've used my smartphone was when I was traveling to Blacksburg VA to clean out my brother's townhouse in case the nursing home needed to reach me.

public-redux

Why are you forced to have cable?

eastmoonrabbit

[thumbup]

buckster

Well, good for you, who cares?

DickD

Congratulations, you can only get better and just maybe they will trade you to a East Coast team.

We will be watching!

Plumbum

Very nice story!

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