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
Those 30 minutes changed everything for him.
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.
“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.