Mason Smith awaits big league dream

Mason Smith during his early football playing days

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by Jay Tust

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KTVB.COM

Posted on June 6, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 7 at 6:50 PM

BOISE -- When it comes to baseball, few players from the state of Idaho have possessed the type talent that Rocky Mountain's Mason Smith has.

In fact, we are about to find out if anyone has.

There have only been six players straight out of high school in state history that have been selected in the top 100 picks of the Major League Baseball Draft. Meridian High shortstop Shon Ashley remains the highest selected position player. The Milwaukee Brewers took Ashley with the 55th overall pick in 1985.

If the projections hold true, Smith could challenge Ashley's record.

Tucked away in the Gem State, it took a while for talent evaluators pick up on Smith. But after a stellar showing on the national stage at the Arena Code Games last fall, eventually, professional baseball scouts made their way out to Meridian.

"Every time I say I'm from Boise, Idaho, I definitely get this weird look," Smith said with a smirk. "I like being the kid from the place that no one really knows and proving everyone wrong."

The cork board in his bedroom at his parents house shows that he has to anyone who doubted him. Dozens of business cards from scouts hang from push-pin to remind him of a chaotic eight months that led 29 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams to his now well-known doorstep.

"It's crazy how things can change so fast," Smith said. "To go from being an average high school kid to signing a piece of paper for a $100,000."

That will soon become a reality he will have to deal with. The 2013 MLB Draft gets underway on Thursday, and it's not a matter of if, but when he will go. ESPN analyst Keith Law lists him as the 71st best player in the country, while Baseball America ranked him No. 101.

With big league organizations ready to invest, Smith recently toured the country at the request of six teams. Last week alone, Smith worked out for the Twins in Southern California, the Braves in Atlanta, the Diamondbacks in Arizona, the Mariners in Seattle, the Padres in San Diego and the Angels in Los Angeles.

"I think they might have been a little more than successful," Smith said with confidence. "Most of the guys came up to me and the feedback they gave me is that they were a lot more surprised. My bat speed definitely looked a lot better and I (hit with) a lot of power."

"I've done everything I can do."

Despite the stress, Smith said he doesn't mind dealing with pressure. And even though his immediate future is about to change his life, he hasn't lost track of something even bigger that's about to happen.

"Just accomplishing what is probably almost every kid's dream - to step on a big league ballpark," Smith said. "It's pretty much a dream come true."

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