Well, at least on Twitter, where the recent call-up has built a nice following of more than 400 fans at, of course, @DeAngeloLMack. At the rate he’s at, it might be nice to follow the man now so you can say you knew him when.
See, Mack was drafted by the Yankees in the 15th round out of South Carolina in 2009, and already finds himself in Double-A in just his second full professional season. He earned All-Star honors in his first pro year with Short Season-A Staten Island — a season in which he hit .306 with seven home runs and 41 RBI in 66 games — and graduated to Charleston the following season, where he’d spend all of 2010.
The personable 24-year-old, whose slight southern drawl doesn’t come across via 140 character tweets, put together a solid year in his home state and established career highs in many offensive categories including home runs (12) and RBI (56). But it was after getting off to a strong start this season in High-A Tampa (.291/3/15 in 34 games) that Mack really started generating some buzz, but it seemed he’d be spending his season in the Florida State League.
In Port Charlotte, Florida with his teammates to play the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Mack received an unexpected invite to manager Luis Sojo’s office and was told to pack his stuff and meet the Trenton Thunder in Portland, Maine. Mack didn’t even know where he’d be starting the season, no less that his stay in Tampa would be cut short thanks to a lower back injury suffered by 40-man outfield prospect Melky Mesa.
After a slow start, Mack has really picked up his game, collecting a hit in five of his last seven contests, including his first Double-A home run in Trenton’s extra innings loss to Reading last night.
“Coming from High-A, I felt good,” Mack said.
“I kind of got into a little funk when I got here, there were some timing issues, but I feel like I have it down right now. I’m starting to hit some balls hard, so they’ll fall if I just keep continuing to do that.”
The adjustment to pitchers with better command, as Mack says you have to get used to as a hitter when jumping to Double-A, took a few games to make.
“They can throw their offspeed stuff for a strike in any count,” said Mack of Double-A pitchers.
“Their ability to pitch is just better, things like late movement, it’s all better. Obviously, that’s the biggest difference.”
Mack has proven to be a solid all-around player so far in his brief stay with the Thunder, but doesn’t exhibit a standout tool. A career .273 hitter entering today’s game in Reading, Mack isn’t far off of that in his first 11 games in the capital city, posting a .256 mark with a home run and five RBI in just 39 at-bats. He’s also shown to be a solid defender as well, and describes himself as someone who just tries to do everything right. So far, he’s done just enough to stand out.
“I try to do all the little things correct, that’s how I see myself, I just like to do everything I can to help the team win,” Mack said.
It’s that kind of attitude that has endeared him to fans ever since his days in Staten Island, and those fans can now interact with him via Twitter, which Mack says he got into about a year ago.
“A lot of people were getting into it, a lot of friends and a lot of ballplayers, so I just figured why not,” Mack said.
“Once I got into it, it just grew and grew. I really enjoy getting to hear from people on there.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com