After drafting Brett Baty, Josh Wolf, and Matthew Allan with their first three picks, the Mets selected Jake Mangum with their fourth-round-pick in 2019, but he could be the first of the bunch to make it to the majors ...
Weight: 179 lbs
MLB Pipeline Mets Prospect Ranking: 25
2019 Statistics: .247 batting average, .337 on-base percentage with 5 doubles, 18 runs batted in and 17 stolen bases
Jake Mangum was born and raised in Mississippi where he comes from a family of NFL athletes. His grandfather played for the Boston Patriots in the 60s, his father played for the Chicago Bears for nine years in the 90s, and his uncle played for the Carolina Panthers from 1997-2006. While Jake played football growing up and loves the sport, after his freshman year of high school at Jackson Prep, he decided to stop playing football and instead focus on playing baseball full-time.
Mangum knew when looking at colleges that he wanted to stay in the state of Mississippi and be close to home. His cousin was attending Mississippi State at the time and he would go there and stay with him and he fell in love with the family environment that Mississippi State provides. He decided to commit to play college baseball there.
Mangum showed up on campus and did nothing but hit. His career batting average in college was .357 and he is the all-time SEC hits leader with 383. He also was drafted three times, all by New York teams. After his sophomore year, he was selected by the Yankees in the 30th round and he opted to go back to school.
After his junior year, he was selected by the Mets in the 32nd round and after a trip to Omaha for the College World Series, he decided to go back to school to make another run at a championship. He built a good relationship with the Mets area scout, Jet Butler, and after the Mets drafted Brett Baty, Josh Wolf and Matthew Allan, it led to a string of college seniors, which typically are used a lot in the top 10 rounds as cost saving picks. However, the Mets had Mangum near the top of their "senior sign" list and felt fortunate to land him in the fourth round.
Mangum was always a team-first player for Mississippi State. He gave away his scholarship after this sophomore year and played as a walk-on for his last two seasons in hopes of improving the team, and it led to back-to-back appearances in the College World Series. Even after defeat in his last college game, he believed it was important to voice his opinions on changes for the college game, mostly more scholarships and having a third paid assistant coach on staff.
Mangum cites the growth of the college game at a rapid rate. TV-wise you have a million people watching the College World Series. You are seeing these $60-million stadiums being built everywhere. The sport is expanding, and only having 11.7 scholarships is a shame. College baseball gets the short end of the stick often, relative to football and some other sports.
College baseball also is not often full scholarships. For example, Mangum's two years on a scholarship was a 30 percent scholarship, and as a sophomore, he was a 60 percent scholarship. He also believes with the amount of people on a college baseball team, there is no reason for there to only be two paid assistant coaches.
With the Mets
After being drafted by the Mets, Mangum was signed and sent to start his pro career with Brooklyn. For him, it was a culture shock going from a kid born and raised in Mississippi to New York City, but he felt he adjusted quickly and took a real liking to the city. Statistically, he played in 53 games and hit .247 with a .337 on-base percentage and stole 17 bases.
Mangum is a pure hitter, as evidenced by being the all-time SEC hits leader and a true old-school, gritty type of player. He has a perspective that if his jersey isn't dirty then he didn't have the day he wants. He is the type of player who goes 100 percent at all times. Truly that is the type of player the fans will love to root for.
While power is not a big part of his game, he has always been a high-contact hitter with ability to spray the ball into the gaps. He hopes as he physically matures he'll be able to knock a few more balls over the fence, but his focus offensively is hitting line drives, get on base, and score runs. He has above-average speed that he's learned to turn into being a stolen-base threat. Defensively, Mangum has above-average range and instincts and an above-average arm in center field. I have very little doubt that he will be able to handle center field at the big-league level.
I firmly believe Mangum is going to be a big leaguer. In fact, my money would be on Mangum being the first draft pick from the Mets 2019 draft class top make the big leagues. His contact ability along with his speed and defense to me sets his floor at that of a fourth outfielder. How much his bat develops to me will be the determining factor as to whether he is going to be an every-day center fielder. I expect Mangum to begin the season with High-A St Lucie.