Late bloomer House built following as senior

Scouts caught on to Padres' No. 78 Draft pick as season went on

June 14th, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- Mason House began his senior season at Whitehouse High School in East Texas without much fanfare. After all, House hadn't spent time on the showcase circuit and was entirely overlooked when it came to preseason Draft prospects.

In Derrick Jenkins' eyes, the rest of the world was merely late to the party.

"He hit about .500 in the playoffs as a junior," said Jenkins, House's high school coach. "As the pitching got better, he got better. Some things he did at the plate, I remember saying, this is a D-I kid who should get drafted. And it was kind of crazy when you look up and no one was really coming to watch him.

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"This was a kid -- with the frame that he has and the athletic abilities -- I thought had a chance to be a Major League kid. It was actually exciting for me to see people come, because you feel like you actually know what you're talking about. You felt all along that this kid would be really, really good, if the right person would just see him."

The right people saw him. And on Tuesday -- after a monster senior season -- House was selected by the Padres with the 78th pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.

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House shot up the projections this spring with a seamless blend of power and speed in center field. He batted .409 with an .833 slugging percentage and 16 steals in his senior year.

"It started off with just a few scouts," House said. "It wasn't too bad to handle. Overnight, there were two, three scouts, and the next game, I look up, and there are 25 there. That first game was pretty overwhelming, nervewracking."

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Maybe for most 18-year-olds. But the moment wasn't too big for House. He went 3-for-3 with two homers that night, and the number of scouts doubled for his next game.

"If you're not on that quote-unquote scene, at times you may get overlooked a little bit," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. "We encourage our scouts to dig deep and find guys in a lot of different ways. ... We think we got a good one with Mason."

House isn't the first athlete from Whitehouse High to be drafted this year. He played one season of baseball with Pat Mahomes, who was selected 10th overall to play quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs in April. The two are remain in touch, and Mahomes tweeted his support for House on Tuesday.

Said House: "It's awesome. We kind of put Whitehouse on the map, I hope."

On Tuesday, Padres scouting director Mark Conner noted that whether House continues in center field is dependent on how his body fills out. Jenkins, meanwhile, is convinced House can play there.

"There's so many things he does that a lot of people don't realize because he was picked up on so late," Jenkins said. "With the frame, everybody's going to look up and expect him to go to a corner-outfield position, I'm sure. But he could play center field just because of how he gets jumps on the ball, how he runs."

House, of course, agrees with Jenkins. And he has a similar theory as to why it took so long to gain national recognition.

"I believe it was just exposure," he says. "I feel like one team saw me, and then the rest was history."