Every year, young first-round draft picks in their respective sports sign multi-million dollar deals. Some spend those signing bonuses on Ferrari cars, Rolex watches, blinged-out jewelry and pocket money for long-lost relatives. For the Washington Nationals 2018 1st-round pick, Mason Denaburg, he spent his money on real estate — and in particular his parent’s home as he paid-off the mortgage on their home which is minutes from the Nats old spring training home in Viera, Florida.
The young Denaburg comes from a family of athletes who also work(ed) hard in school. His parents were both college athletes and his mom, Connie, excelled for Carson Newman in Tennessee playing collegiate volleyball and tennis for the Lady Eagles, and his father, Dan Denaburg, played football at Tennessee Tech during the mid-80’s.
Denaburg posted up this video (below) on his Twitter account as Connie read his letter and held back her emotions as her favorite song “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts played in the background. It was well-planned out.
“As a kid growing up, that was my moms favorite song,” Mason Denaburg said. “Every time we were in the car together we would always play it. So I thought it was just fitting to have that song playing as my mom opened her card. She is the strongest woman in this world.”
Thank you Mom and Dad. This is just a small part of what you deserve. You have helped me reach my goals in ways i could never imagine. i love you guys so much and the support and love you give to our family is greater than anything i could ever give back to you. pic.twitter.com/D2S1Kd5u5Y
— Mason Denaburg (@masondenaburg_) December 30, 2018
The 19-year-old received his $3 million signing bonus as a first round pick according to Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline which was above his slot value of $2,472,700. That bonus after taxes and agent fees probably had Denaburg walking away with only $1.8 million dollars which certainly needs to be safeguarded for a young man who will only net a few thousand dollars a month as a minor leaguer. Mason Denaburg’s future looks bright, and this is something the fireballing young pitcher wanted to do for his parents and his family.
— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) June 5, 2018
Denaburg was a baseball and football stand-out at Merritt High School in Florida, and he also was a key signing for USA Baseball’s 18U team. After signing with the Nationals, he spent his 2018 season in the Gulf-Coast League (GCL).
“He is a strong, athletic kid with very clean arm action and three Major League quality pitches,” said Assistant General Manager & Vice President, Scouting Operations Kris Kline. “He’s a competitive, two-sport athlete who we saw a lot throughout his high school career.”
Some scouts rated Denaburg as the most athletic and hardest-throwing high-school right-hander going into the 2018 draft. He was rated by Baseball America as the № 22 draft prospect and by MLB.com as the № 24 draft prospect, and by Perfect Game as the № 11 overall high school prospect, the fourth-best high school right-handed pitching prospect and the third-best high school prospect in the talent-rich state of Florida, and Denaburg was a commit to the University of Florida Gators, but clearly made the right choice signing with the Nationals.
“Thank you Mom and Dad,” Mason Denaburg wrote. “This is just a small part of what you deserve. You have helped me reach my goals in ways I could never imagine. I love you guys so much, and the support and love you give to our family is greater than anything I could ever give back to you.”
There was obviously a lot of planning that had to go into pulling this off. Where does a teenager begin on a quest to pay-off a mortgage? Well, he was smart as he told his father the plan beforehand to get it right.
“Yes I did plan ahead,” Denaburg said. “My dad helped me out with most of [how to pay off the mortgage], but it was very hard to keep it a secret from my mom.”
For Connie Denaburg, it was the surprise of her life, and she got to celebrate this with her entire family. What did we miss after the video ended?
“So after the camera was turned off, there were tears and hugs all around,” Connie Denaburg said. “Mason made sure all his siblings were home and he had the candles burning and my favorite song playing ‘My Wish’ by Rascal Flatts. We just told them ALL, how proud we are of the young adults they have become, and so thankful that they have learned the value of family and supporting one another through good times and hard times. We stressed how success is not based on wins and losses, but rather how you live your life and the good choices you make each day.”
“As I started to read the letter out loud, I realized again what a kind, gentle soul Mason has and what a great young man he has become. To be able to express how much our family means to him is a gift we will always treasure and a parents’ dream come true. We waited many years before having a family, because we wanted to make sure we were ready to devote our lives to them, which came so naturally all these years. Our goal was to raise kids who could see the big picture in life and just be a good person, and show them that we will always be there to support them and for them to hopefully do the same for others one day. Mason has done that and so much more.”
“Dan and I, both being athletes, loved following them around the country supporting their athletic endeavors. Mason has always been ‘different’ in a good sort of way, and I’ve always seen this side of him wanting to help people. Ever since he was a little boy, he enjoyed all sports including baseball, basketball, soccer, motocross, football, and skiing, but it was baseball that he had an ultimate passion for. Mason has been blessed with mentors through his baseball journey who have taught him the value of teamwork, hard work and loyalty. I truly believe everything in life happens for a reason and sometimes that ‘reason’ is not known till much later in God’s time. When Mason was 9, we became part of a baseball family like no other. It was that second family who also helped to shape Mason into the young man he is today. We all made lifetime friends throughout that experience and are so thankful for those who made that happen.”
“All of our kids are multi-sport athletes, who we supported to try any sport they wanted to try. We NEVER told them that they had to make a choice between sports, but once they started a season, they had to finish that season. Ultimately, it was their decision on what sport they wanted to pursue. We tried to teach them how to be ultimate competitors, while realizing it is important to be a good teammate and to be the best, you have to work harder than the rest. We also taught them that being the best only lasts for one day. We told them athletics can teach them a lot about life, but the real important things in life have to do with effort and attitude and supporting each other in whatever means possible.”
You can see the apple does not fall far in this family tree. Well done young man. Well done! Thank you to the entire Denaburg family for sharing this story with us.