Toronto Blue Jays prospect Jean-Christophe Masson asked for nothing better than to find the rookies of the Toronto organization after a first professional training camp cut short last March due to the pandemic. And it is overflowing with confidence that the outfielder from Lévis landed in Florida.
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For ten days, Masson has been participating in a rookie camp at the Blue Jays training complex in Dunedin, near Tampa. They are a dozen positional players and a dozen pitchers to have been invited for this fall exercise which should stretch over a month after a 2020 season in the water. Another camp is taking place at the same time on the site which is aimed at older players who have been with the organization for a longer time.
For Masson, who was selected in the 26th round by the Jays in 2019, this experience comes in handy after being one of the main architects of the Quebec Diamants playoff title in the Quebec Elite Junior Baseball League (LBJEQ) acquired at the beginning of the month.
“It feels really good to have the opportunity to play, to practice, the coaches are happy to see us and everyone is happy! It really feels good to see familiar faces again and it allows you to continue to bond with the coaches. In truth [en personne], it’s different, ”said the 18-year-old in a telephone interview with The newspaper.
This return to almost normalcy leads Masson and his teammates to believe that they will be able to start the affiliated minor league season somewhere next spring although no schedule has been published.
One of the youngest to set foot on Dunedin, Masson is also one of the few who has seen action in recent months. His decision to join the Diamonds due to the cancellation of affiliate baseball activities has been more than beneficial to him.
After maintaining a batting average of .324 (22 in 68) and producing 15 points in the regular season, the Quebecer has exploded in the playoffs, slamming four home runs and maintaining a buoyant plate average of .488 (20 in 41). He also had 14 RBIs, almost as many as during the regular season.
“I arrived confident, because not all the players had the opportunity to play games. I felt ready, in good shape, and I just want to keep showing them that I will always be among the guys who go to work the hardest. I take pride in doing this as a baseball player and want to show them some adjustments that I made in my swing.
“Playing matches is different. There is pressure and everything. It’s not like being in a batting cage in a controlled environment. In my opinion, playing matches is the best way to improve, ”said the man who signed his first professional contract in July 2019.
As evidenced by his statistics during the fall junior baseball tournament, Masson wants to continue developing his batting power.
“The adjustments to be made in a momentum, is it an intermittent or endless quest? I try to hit more power compared to other guys who might hit more power [termes] contact, ”he explained.
Who says Florida says major outbreak of COVID-19. The Blue Jays have imposed strict rules on their players for the duration of the camps. But Masson does not complain about it. On the contrary.
“I go to the hotel or to the stadium. You can’t go to a restaurant and be in contact with too many people to control the team bubble, but it’s a sacrifice that is not very great if it can allow me to play, ”recognized Masson, adding not to have really witnessed the behavior of the general population.