Yankees outfield prospect Mason Williams was arrested in Tampa on DUI charges early Thursday morning, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Williams was reportedly driving 10-13 mph over the speed limit and showing “clues of impairment” when he was pulled over. He failed a field sobriety test and was charged with a misdemeanor DUI.
Williams was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Yankees farm system by Bronx Baseball Daily and was named the No. 32 overall prospect in MLB by Baseball America. He just turned 21 in August and hit .298/.346/.474 in 91 games last season before shoulder surgery. So far he’s hitting .271/.400/.371 in 18 games at High-A Tampa this year.
There is no excuse for this. Go out and drink, that’s fine. But he’s a young man with a steady and good paying job. There is no reason he can’t afford a taxi when he goes out and drinks. This shows a lack of judgement away from the field and it will no doubt lead many to question his commitment on the field.
Not only could he have hurt himself, but he doesn’t have to look outside the organization for evidence that this could lead to death. So he joins Jim Leyritz, Joba Chamberlain, and Michael Pineda as the other jerks who recently put their safety, the safety of others,
and their careers (oh right, MLB doesn’t care about DUI’s) on the line because he’s too cheap to call a cab or too stupid to make alternative plans ahead of time.
Williams has to hope that this doesn’t hurt his chances with the Yankees. Sure, Williams has talent, but there are quite a few good outfield prospects in this organization right now. Something like this could be the difference in the Yankees trading Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, or Ramon Flores in a deal, just as a for instance, or Williams because if everything else is equal the Yankees are going to take the player with better judgement.
Hopefully he can use this to his advantage though. It was only slightly less than a year ago when Pineda got his DUI. To me, especially after he showed up to Spring Training out of shape, that was a bad warning sign that the kid was wasting away his career. However, by all accounts Pineda has gone in the opposite direction since then and seems more dedicated than ever.
The bottom line is that this very well could be a turning point in Williams’ career. This could be the first sign of a lazy and not too bright minor leaguer or it could be a wake up call to him. Hopefully it’s the latter. Only time will tell. Until then, at least he didn’t kill himself or anybody else.
• Curtis Granderson took another step toward a return as he has begun taking full swings in the batting cage and could be taking full on batting practice on the field soon. He seems like he’ll be the first from the group of injured to return to the field.
• Speaking of the injured, Derek Jeter held a press conference yesterday where he pretty much just announced that he intends to play again this season. Yeah, just like he told us 20 times that he would be ready for Opening Day. He’s got a serious injury and it will heal when it heals.
• During Michael Pineda’s simulated game on Monday he was throwing in the low-90′s. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s his first game situation in over a year and the Yankees liked what they saw.
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