“” Mason Velasquez - Driveline Baseball

Mason Velasquez

Indy Ball

Sometimes you happen to be in the right place at the right time.

That’s certainly the case with Mason Velasquez, who had bounced from Norfolk State in 2021 to Benedictine Mesa to finish up his college playing career in 2022. After his spring season had wrapped up, one of Velasquez’s teammates saw a ‘Help Wanted’ of sorts on Twitter – Driveline, which was close by in the Phoenix area, needed some hitters to take live at-bats against some professional arms.

It was one of those stars aligning moments for Velasquez

“Me and my friend had like 20-30 minutes with [Driveline hitting trainer Conner Watson] before the pitchers got ready,” he said. “So Watty coached us a bit and I was getting a real in-depth feel for hitting and how my swing should work and how it should sequence. I was learning a lot, and I could tell he knew what he was talking about.”

Those 30 minutes changed everything for him.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to train at Driveline,’” Velasquez said. “I’ve always been a big power guy, but I haven’t really had the power numbers to show for it. I knew that somewhere in my swing I was lacking, and just talking to Watty for those 30 minutes before we hit changed my whole outlook”

The process of Velasquez actually beginning his training at Driveline took a bit longer than those initial 30 minutes, though. He had finished up his college career at that point, and without a sure-fire plan of what was going to come next, Velasquez went home to Port St. Joe, Florida.

Eventually, he cooked up a plan that many (most?) recent college graduates dream about – Velasquez wanted to buy an RV and drive it from his home in Florida to Kent, Washington to get motion captured and start training at Driveline.

His parents co-signed on the plan and the RV, and Velasquez got behind the wheel for the 42-hour drive from Florida to Washington.

Once he got done with his initial motion capture up in Washington, Velasquez drove the RV another 22 hours down to Phoenix and got back to work with a concrete plan on how to get more power production out of his swing.

“The biggest thing for Mason was the positions that he was putting himself in,” Driveline hitting trainer Travis Fitta said. “He would be very under-rotated throughout multiple positions during his swing. And that was limiting his ability to produce good pull-side power. He was already strong, he was already big, and he was fast in different ways. He could produce speed in short bursts, but he had zero direction in his swing.”

Fitta and Velasquez worked with bat speed trainers, long bats, and talked a lot about how Velasquez’s ball flight to the pull side was going to be his biggest indicator of success.

“This dude got used to every single implement we use,” Fitta said. “And I think over time it just gave him a better understanding of who he is as an athlete and a hitter.”

Velasquez’s bat speed has jumped about 5 mph in the past year, up to around 75 mph, and with the added bat speed he’s seen his peak exit velocity jump about 7-8 mph

This past summer, Velasquez took his newfound knowledge and speed in his swing to the Mavericks Independent Baseball League up in Oregon, where he played for the Salem Senators. That power that Velasquez knew he always had that had never shown up in-game finally showed up – in 158 at-bats, he hit .392, slugged .652, and was second in the league with eight home runs and 50 RBI.

“I got to know myself as a hitter more [at Driveline],” Velasquez said. “When I was in Kent getting my motion capture, I was talking to an Indy Ball guy and he said, ‘You get to know your swing more.’ At the time, I didn’t understand what he meant by that. But where I’m at now…I definitely understand my swing and how it should work.”

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