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Christopher Lee Mason

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[edit] Biographical Information

After attending Bessemer City High School, where he broke Kevin Millwood's record for strikeouts in a single season, Chris Mason attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he played outfield and third base as well as pitching. He was 14-10 in 62 games there and hit .320 with 10 home runs. As a junior, he led the Southern Conference with 135 strikeouts and was second with a 2.88 ERA. He tied Micah Owings and another hurler for 7th in NCAA Division I in strikeouts.

Mason was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the second round of the 2005 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Brad Matthews for a $630,000 bonus and made his pro debut that summer with the Hudson Valley Renegades on June 22nd, earning the win in relief. Mason was 1-1 with two saves and a 2.40 ERA in 9 games for Hudson Valley, then was promoted to the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays, where he was 1-0 with a 1.45 ERA in 10 outings.

The next summer, he played for the Visalia Oaks and made the transition to the starting rotaion, winning 12 games and losing 10 in 27 starts despite a 5.02 ERA. He tied James Houser for the California League lead in wins.

Mason spent the entire 2007 campaign with the Montgomery Biscuits and was named Most Outstanding Pitcher in the Southern League and the AA Pitcher of the Year by milb.com. That season, he won 15 games while losing just four with a 2.57 ERA and 136 strikeouts and was undefeated in his last 13 starts, as the Biscuits went on to a league title. Baseball America rated him as having the best control in the SL. He led the league in wins and was ERA and was named as the All-Star right-handed pitcher. Baseball America did not consider him one of the league's top 20 prospects, though.

However, he struggled the following year with the AAA Durham Bulls, going 3-9 with a 6.38 ERA before being removed from the club's rotation. Overall, he was 3-10 with a 6.21 ERA.

Hoping to bounce back from his 2008 season, Mason began 2009 back with AA Montgomery. He did not do well there either, going 3-5 with a 6.24 ERA and .326 opponent average.

Mason signed to play in Taiwan in 2010. Debuting for the La New Bears on March 25, he was roughed up for eight runs in five innings. Chris Mason finished the year in the CPBL 10-7 with a 2.63 ERA. 2 of his last three starts destroyed his ERA - while pitching 7 innings, he allowed 5 runs - and 3 2/3 innings while giving up 4 runs. His last outing, he made a good impression by throwing 8 innings and giving up 2. He finished fifth in the league in ERA. Amazingly, he did not allow any home runs in 154 innings of work.

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