Probable Mets Jake Manjum comes from the football family

Port St. Lucy – Jake Mangum grew up in a football family, and he’s trying to bring the mentality of the sport to the baseball field.

“Just play every game like it’s my last,” Mangum, the defensive player who arrived at Double-A Binghamton last season, said on Tuesday at the Mets mini-league camp. “I’m sure anyone who’s seen me play for a while will agree that if it’s a kicker for the bowler, I’ll do my best first.”

Mangom’s father John played nine seasons in the NFL with the Bears as a defensive leader in the 1990s after a collegiate career in Alabama. Uncle, Chris, played a tightrope in the Panthers’ ranks, and Jon’s grandfather Jake Mangum played defensive tackle for the Patriots in the 1960s.

Jake Mangum stopped playing football early in high school to focus on baseball. The 25-year-old’s first professional breakout came last year, when he broke .285/.337/.454 with nine hurdles, 47 RBI and 14 base steals in 84 games for High-A Brooklyn and Binghamton.

Earlier this week, Kevin Howard, director of player development for the Mets, mentioned that Mangum is the player – far from the organization’s top six or seven prospects – that he’s very much looking forward to seeing this spring.

Jake Mangum has cut .285/.337/.454 with nine lucky catches, 47 RBIs and 14 base steals in 84 games for High-A Brooklyn and Binghamton.
Jake Mangum has cut .285/.337/.454 with nine lucky catches, 47 RBIs and 14 base steals in 84 games for High-A Brooklyn and Binghamton.

“He’s been here the last couple of months in the pool; he’s got a lot of natural abilities,” Howard said. I really think he’s a guy people underestimated and I think he’s going to emerge as one of those top seven guys before the end of the year.”

In Mississippi, mangum has been drafted three times. The first call came from the Yankees in the 30th round of the 2017 draft. Mangum returned to school and was selected by the Mets in the 32nd round of the ensuing draft. Mangum is back in school and after his final year was picked in the fourth round by the Mets in 2019.

Jake Manjum
Jake Manjum
Mike Puma

“I wasn’t too shocked because I’m back in my senior year,” Mangum said. “You definitely hurt my feelings. I didn’t necessarily want to, but I was thankful for my fourth year at the State Department for sure. I’m so grateful [the Mets] He took me in the fourth round. That’s very kind of them and I hope I’ve made them proud so far.”

Mangum struggled in 53 games with the Brooklyn side in 2019, but dedicated the following spring and summer — the pandemic wiped out the minor league table — to changing the way he swings.

“I had a great college career, but it wasn’t what the pro teams were looking for,” Mangum said. “It was a very simple technique, and many people would never have thought that I would translate into a professional hitter. I am thankful that in my short 2019 season in Brooklyn I didn’t have the year I wanted.

“Early last year I showed signs hitting the balls more aggressively, but I didn’t have the right technique. I’m grateful to the Mets, halfway through July they sat me down, they said, ‘We love what you’re doing, it’s there now, but How can we change that approach?” And the more you change that approach now it’s great.”

Nick Plummer and Khalil Lee are outside players on the 40-man roster ahead of Mangum in organizational depth. Whether Mangum starts this season at Binghamton or Triple-A Syracuse, it’s clear he may be in the conversation at some point if the Mets need a defensive player.

It probably doesn’t hurt Mangum’s status that he shares Mississippi State as a university with Principal Buck Showalter. Others in the organization of Mississippi origins include prospects GT Jane, Cole Gordon, Rudy Jordan and area scout Jet Butler, who signed the four players.

“[Butler], it seems like everyone he brings is the right person, not just the good baseball players… He’s able to find the right people for the organization, the club, who are all trying to fight for the same thing, to win trophies if we are, Magnum said. “And Buck Showalter is a legend. His name only speaks for itself.”


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