Mason Black is a Pennsylvania native. Born in Scranton, Black attended Lehigh University and was drafted in the third round by the San Francisco Giants. His pro career thus far has been successful, and he is one of the Giants’ top pitching prospects. He pitched well in an extended sample size at Triple-A and could slot into a starting rotation as soon as May next season, if not earlier.
Black split his time nearly evenly between the Giants’ Double-A and Triple-A teams. He opened the year for the Giants’ Double-A team, working to a 3.57 ERA, 3.23 FIP, and 1.05 WHIP through 63 innings of work. Black struck out nearly a third of opponents with a 32.7% strikeout rate and paired that with a quality 8.3% walk rate. The right-handed pitching prospect also clocked in with a respectable 1.00 HR/9 rate.
Black got promoted to Triple-A, where he owned a 3.86 ERA, 5.35 FIP, and 1.36 WHIP. The right-hander fought against the PCL’s harsh pitching environment and won. Black’s 1.34 HR/9 rate and 12% walk rate were about league average. But his 27.9% strikeout rate was 6.1% better than the PCL average. He also had to adjust mid-season to the ABS system, as Double-A did not play with that technology during the game. He pitched nearly the same amount of innings at Triple-A compared to Double-A, logging 60.2 frames.
Black’s arsenal consists of four pitches. The first is his four-seam fastball, which he uses most often. The pitch sits around 93-95 MPH with about average spin, but his low arm slot makes his fastball play up. He also will toss a sinker with slightly less velocity and spin. Black throws both a slider and a sweeper. The sweeper is a low-80s breaking ball with above 2500 RPM. He throws his slider with more speed, sitting in the mid-80s but with less spin, coming in closer to 2400 RPM.
Black is heading into his age-24 campaign, and after the numbers he put up at Triple-A, is definitely deserving of a Major League promotion soon. Black’s stuff will definitely play at a Major League level. Along with a low and deceptive arm slot, he can also command his pitches well. If the Pirates acquired him, he would definitely slot into their rotation now.