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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mets' Massie comfortable with decision to forego college and chase a dream

Friday, November 30, 2012

State Gazette photo/courtesy of Allen Greene Photography Former DCHS standout Andrew Massie spent his first season in the big leagues playing for the Kingsport Mets, the rookie affiliate of the New York Mets.
When former DCHS standout Andrew Massie made the decision to turn down a scholarship offer to play college baseball at Union University, he did so to fulfill a dream of playing professional baseball.

Drafted by the New York Mets in the 24th round of the 2012 Major League baseball draft, Massie spent his first season of professional ball as a member of the Kingsport Mets, the rookie affiliate of the tradition-rich Mets organization.

During his initial season, the hard-throwing right-hander appeared in nine games, starting four of those. He earned one save and recorded 20 strikeouts in 29.1 innings of work while allowing 35 hits.

Speaking to the State Gazette on Thursday, Massie said that while the decision to forego college was a tough one to make, he feels today it was the right one for him to make and one he doesn't think about anymore.

"I don't regret my decision at all and it was definitely worth it. My first season was just great after about the first day when I didn't know anybody and I was really homesick," said Massie. "I was so far away from home and I couldn't just leave, but after a day or two of meeting some of my teammates everything was pretty smooth and I just worked hard to get better."

One of the major differences of playing in high school as opposed to playing on the professional level was, surprisingly enough, that playing at the high school level was tougher.

"It was harder on me at Dyer County than when I got to Kingsport. When I was at Dyer County they stayed on us pretty good about working out and staying in shape, but everything at the professional level is different," added Massie. "All the guys are like all-state players and it's very competitive, so when they told me something to do to get better, I did it. There was nobody that stayed on you about it, but if you wanted to play, you had to work to get better and that's what I did."

Massie said the biggest difference between pitching in high school and throwing as a professional was the fact that in high school his fastball was hard to hit, while with the Mets it was all about the location of his pitches.

"Anybody on that level can hit a fastball, it doesn't matter how hard you throw it. The key was hitting the spots and developing other pitches that I needed to be successful," he said.

While a flame-thrower in high school with a super fastball, he worked hard during his first year of developing pitches to use during his time on the mound. Massie said he reverted back to his younger days to help add something to his arsenal while continuing to improve his change-up.

"I used to have a split-finger when I was younger, but when I got to high school it kind of got discarded. I started throwing it again and it turned out to be one of my best pitches," said Massie. "The biggest thing was controlling everything. When I was spotting up the location either with the fastball, splitter or change-up, it was pretty tough to hit. It's all about location and not so much about speed."

Once the season was over, Massie felt he had done his best and gained some very valuable experience that will only help him in the future, staring with next season.

"I felt really good about how I did my first year. I think I went there and showed that I belong on that level and I know I sure did learn a lot," he added. "I'm glad I decided to do what I did because you never know if this chance would have been there after college. I could have thrown my arm out and never had the opportunity to do what I'm doing now."

Chances are, with a hard work ethic and the ability to learn to locate pitches, Massie's career in the big leagues is just getting started.

As for college, it will be there when he is done chasing his dream.

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