For Michigan State’s Mason Erla, the time he spent over the summer working on his arm speed, was a summer well spent. Erla came back to East Lansing throwing several miles per hour faster and the results were evident of his dominance.
Even in the shortened 2020 season due to COVID-19, Erla struck out 42 batters in just four games which earned him a the title as a Second-Team All-American. Making him the first Spartan All-American since Dakota Mekkes was a Third-Team National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) All-American in 2015.
“Honestly I was shocked when Coach Boss texted me I wasn’t really expecting anything, obviously with the draft I’ve been super busy talking to teams and stuff with that side,” said Erla. “I didn’t really have any thoughts about any type of honor like that and then to hear that was, it was exciting.”
For MSU Baseball Head Coach, Jake Boss, he saw the recognition coming for the performance Erla put together in the shortened season.
“It was a pretty cool moment you know Mason obviously had an unbelievable year, I mean only four starts but while his breaking ball is good and his change up is good his fastball was in the mid 90s to 97 m.p.h and really was just a true strikeout pitch,” said Boss. “It was as dominant a pitching performance as we’ve ever had.”
With the Major League Baseball draft less than two-weeks away, the first round on June 10th and rounds two through five on June 11th, Mason has a really good chance of getting selected. The 2020 draft is only five rounds due to budget cuts from COVID-19. Each player not selected in the draft will be signed as an undrafted free-agent for only $20,000 a season.
The Spartans are confident Erla will be going pro by the end of the time the draft is over. However, if he doesn’t get drafted Erla still has two years of collegiate eligibility to come back to East Lansing if you chooses to.
“It’s exciting, it’s also something new it’s kind of nerve racking to think about like oh I could be getting shipped off somewhere in a couple weeks or whatever,” said Erla. “Obviously with the childhood dream of playing professional baseball it’s super exciting.”
“I think you could make a really good cause for him being you know probably a second round draft pick I think you know with his body he’s big and physical,” said Boss. “I think it would be an absolute shame if he was not drafted I would hope that somewhere in the fourth or fifth round if not sooner that he would be taken and get his pro career started.”
Erla is currently training at home and pitching into a net set up in his backyard. He is currently talking to several MLB teams but isn’t sure as to which one will select him.