Drafted: 5th round, 154th overall
AGE/DOB: 21, Dec. 23, 1998
SCHOOL: Vanderbilt (TN)
- Baseball America- 161
- Fangraphs- NR
- MLB.com- NR
- IBI- 143
Willie Hood: A quality performer in the SEC and Vanderbilt’s Friday night starter Hickman displays an impressive feel on the mound. Hickman was undrafted in high school in 2017. The Right-hander gets by with average stuff across the board (with the exclusion of his curveball) because of his advanced ability to command and control the baseball. Hickman is clearly a competitor on the mound and gets the most out of his stuff (video). The Tennessee native has an impressive track record of winning throughout his time in Nashville and in high school.
Hickman gets by with a high 80’s to low 90’s fastball that touches 92 occasionally. Displaying impressive control and pitchability the right-hander maximizes his four-pitch mix by keeping batters out of order at the plate. The right-hander displays three solid secondaries with an above-average curveball the best of his pitches. His slider and changeup both get average grades and his control rates plus. Displaying advanced feel and pitchability with a solid four-pitch mix Hickman projects as a back of the rotation number 5 starter.
Jeff Ellis: Mason Hickman might be 6’6”, but he is cut from the same cloth as that of Burns and Allen. He actually has the worst velocity of the three arms despite his size. His fastball is a high 80s to low 90s pitch, which is why Hickman is on the board here. While he has been great at Vanderbilt, he has not added any velocity. It stands to note over the last few years, Vanderbilt’s pitcher development has been an issue with several players underperforming or seeming to not develop. In terms of his per nine data strikeout over 12 the last two years with a walk at 2.44 and 1.45. His fastball moves a ton and might have the best vertical movement in the entire class. He has a curve that is his best secondary and a slider that is an average offering that flashes more. The performance is there, but the Indians might think they can unlock more. When he got to Vandy every assumed he would add velocity, the Indians have had a lot of success finding another gear with other college arms.
Press release:The big right-hander hails from Hendersonville, TN…As a Sophomore (2019), struck out nine-or-more batters in 5 of his final 6 starts and fanned 10 Michigan Wolverines in Vandy’s CWS-clinching win last June…Career collegiate record of 19-2 with a 3.13 ERA at Vanderbilt over 29 starts and 189.2 innings (221 SO, 10.5 SO/9.0IP, 2.9 BB/9.0IP)…In pandemic-shortened season of 2020 he was 2-0 with a 0.48 ERA in 3 starts (1ER/18.2IP), posting a 26-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio…First Team Preseason All-America by Collegiate Baseball.
MLB.com on Hickman
Comments: Hickman’s stuff hasn’t stood out on Vanderbilt’s loaded pitching staffs, but he has been a consistent winner who has gone 19-2 with a 3.13 ERA in three college seasons and earned the victory in the College World Series clincher last June. His best pitch is his solid curveball, and he also has an 88-91 mph fastball that misses bats because of his command and deception. He throws strikes and keeps hitters off balance by mixing in a slider and changeup, making him a high-floor guy who might become a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Photo: Vanderbilt University Athletics