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2019 Mets draft profile: Jake Mangum

With their fourth selection in the 2019 draft, the Mets selected Jake Mangum, a center fielder from Mississippi.

Born: Pearl, Mississippi

Age: 23 (03/08/96)

Height/Weight: 6’1”/180 lbs.

Position: CF

Bats/Throws: S/L

School: Mississippi State University

Jake Mangum comes from a long line of athletes. His grandfather, John Mangum, was a defensive tackle for the Boston Patriots from 1966-1967. His father, John Mangum Jr. was a defensive back for the Chicago Bears from 1990-1998. His uncle, Kris Mangum, was a tight end for the Carolina Panthers from 1997-2006. Jake did not follow in the family business, instead playing the national pastime. Excelling on the field at Jackson Preparatory School, he chose MSU over Ole Miss, Auburn and Alabama and hit .408/.458/.510 in 62 games as a freshman, winning 2016 SEC Freshman of the Year and being named to the First All-SEC Team. He experienced something of a sophomore slump in 2017 but still hit a solid .324/.380/.385 in 65 games, being named to the Second All-SEC Team. The New York Yankees drafted him in the 30th round of the draft that year, but he turned them down, choosing to return to Mississippi State University. In his junior year, he hit .353/.432/.484. The New York Mets drafted him, but once again, he turned down going pro, citing unfinished business at Mississippi State and an unhappiness about where he was drafted and the amount of money he would be offered. Returning to school for his final season, the outfielder hit .375/.427/.490 in 56 games before super regional play.

A switch hitter, Mangum uses a contact-oriented approach to slash the ball around the field. While it limits his in-game power- though he has improved in this regard, hitting more doubles in his junior and senior seasons- he makes up for it with his speed. Indeed, his speed is his best tool, earning plus and even plus-plus grades by scouts and evaluators. He is still learning how to make it translate on the base paths, but the number of bases he has stolen and the times he has been caught has steadily improved over the years. He is aggressive at the plate, but like the stolen bases, has improved on working deeper counts and drawing walks.

In the outfield, Mangum is an average defender. He has plenty of range in center field thanks to his excellent speed, but his routes are still unrefined. With better route taking, he could be a future above-average defensive center fielder. He possesses a strong arm as well, throwing a few innings for Mississippi State in 2017.