Mason Neville is an intriguing player whose balanced skillset was on full display during last summer’s showcase circuit. Scouts quickly noticed Neville’s loud tools and believe he’s one of the top prep players in the 2022 MLB draft class.
Neville, a senior outfielder at Basic High (Nev.), projects as a potential early-round pick in this year’s draft due to his exciting toolset and five-tool potential.
“The process is amazing,” Neville said. “I am fortunate enough to be in this situation. I thank everyone who has been a part of the process so far. With that being said, you can’t think about it too much. I just try to go out there and play every game like it’s my last.”
Neville is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-handed hitter with an easy and repeatable swing. His mechanics are clean and consistent. He drives the ball to the gaps and projects to hit for plenty of power in the future.
Neville has premium athleticism with above-average speed, making him a base-stealing threat and allowing him to cover plenty of ground in the outfielder. He profiles in center field at the next level due to his speed and above-average arm strength.
“The biggest strength in my game is my ability to change the outcome of the game at any given moment, whether that’s stealing a base or driving a ball deep into the gap,” Neville said. “I take pride in being versatile and a team guy. I am just looking to win and want to be the guy people count on in clutch situations.”
Neville has an exciting toolset, but scouts will keep a close eye on his hitting ability this spring. While Neville consistently squares up fastballs, he has improved his ability to drive off-speed pitches. He has focused on improving his pitch recognition and barrel control.
“I have worked really hard in the offseason to separate myself from the competition,” Neville said. “Baseball humbles you quick. Even when you have success against elite competition, the work isn’t done, and there is still so much you can work on. You can’t take success for granted. You just have to keep pushing.”
While Neville likely will have a chance to turn pro out of high school, he could decline the interest and attend the University of Arkansas instead.
In September, he committed to the Razorbacks after previously committing to the University of Arizona. Arizona head coach Jay Johnson left for the same position at Louisiana State University in the offseason, leading to Neville reopening the recruiting process.
Arizona and Arkansas were his top two choices originally. Arkansas always was a school and program that intrigued Neville. While he considered following Johnson to LSU, he felt Arkansas was the best fit for him this time around.
“Arkansas is a great program and always has been a great program,” Neville said. “I took a visit and fell in love. It was everything I could want in a college. They have the facilities, the coaching staff, a winning culture, and the opportunity to win a national championship every single year. They also have the greatest fan base in all of college baseball. Everything checked the boxes.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.