/From Starkville to Gotham – and that’s not even Mangum’s biggest adjustment

From Starkville to Gotham – and that’s not even Mangum’s biggest adjustment

Jake Mangum is well-known as the Southeastern Conference’s all-time hits leader. He clearly knows how to adapt and has a lot more success than others. He was not prepared for this summer’s changes, his first professional baseball season after a career that saw him set records at Mississippi State. This is the story of his transition from Starkville to New York City. This is how it all began: From playing in college baseball’s most prestigious event, the College World Series in front of thousands to playing in the Brooklyn Cyclones’ Class A short-season NY Penn League. Perhaps the most difficult adjustment was switching from metal bats and wooden bats. Mangum, a late Wednesday night visitor at his Burlington motel in Vermont, said that the whole process had been a huge learning experience. “It took me one minute.” It was closer to a month. Mangum has made progress. Mangum is now doing what he’s always done: hitting the ball where the fielders aren’t. After hitting.200 in his first month of pro ball, Mangum has now hit.335 for 16 Cyclones games to increase his average to.255. His 15-game season-best streak of hitting ended Wednesday with a 0-for-4 night. Even then, he walked in one of his two runs in a loss to 10-2. The all-night bus ride from New York City to Burlington was the basis of Wednesday night’s game. Mangum said, “I slept all night.” However, the adjustment to wooden bats was more difficult than the overnight bus ride. Mangum stated that wood bats are more difficult to handle. He said, “You must hit it in the sweet spot.” It’s not just me. It seems like everyone goes through it at some point. Antoine Duplantis, an All-American at LSU who scored.324, now scores.240 for LSU’s Cyclones. Mangum and Duplantis have become good friends. This is not a Brooklyn thing. Grae Kessinger hit.330 in Ole Miss’s last season and is now hitting.241 this season. Matt Wallner, who was a.323 hitter for Southern Miss with 23 home runs, is now hitting.277 in rookie baseball with five home runs. Thomas Dillard was a.310 hitter for Ole Miss, and is currently hitting.242 for Class A. Dustin Skelton was a.315 hitter for State and is currently hitting.161 in pro ball. Cooper Johnson was.277 at Ole Miss, and is currently hitting.194 for Class A. It is difficult, obviously. Mangum stated that “we see some really great pitching almost every evening.” It’s almost like you’re going out to face a guy with SEC Friday Night stuff every night.” However, there are worse fates than being paid for the game you love. “Honestly, it’s a great experience. Mangum stated that the season is flying by. September 2nd will mark the end of the regular season for Cyclones. The Brooklyn team is currently tied for first place in the NY-Penn League’s wild-card playoff berth. Mangum says that he plans to stay in Starkville during the off-season, in case the season ends, playoffs or no.