His performance flew somewhat under the radar — that can happen when you play for a team that loses 108 games — but Trey Mancini had a fantastic 2019 season. Quietly crushing as one the game’s most-underrated hitters, the Baltimore Orioles outfielder/first baseman slashed .291/.364/.535, with 38 doubles and 35 home runs. Mancini’s 322 total bases were sixth most in the junior circuit, while his 132 wRC+ was higher than that of Nolan Arenado, Ronald Acuña Jr., Bryce Harper, and numerous other notables.
The 27-year-old University of Notre Dame product discussed his breakout, and his hitting approach as a whole, on the final weekend of his third full major league season.
David Laurila: You’ve obviously stepped up your game. What’s different this year?
Trey Mancini: “I think the biggest change, especially from the first half of  to this year… I’d gotten to the point where I was almost obsessed with what I was doing mechanically. I’d become way too concerned with what was going on in my swing — where my hands were, and all that — and if you’re thinking about those things at the plate, the ball is going to be whizzing right by you. So I’ve pretty much eliminated any thought of the physical. Now it’s just pitch selection.”
Laurila: That said, hitters sometimes do need to make meaningful physical adjustments.
Mancini: “That’s what your offseason work is. If you’re working on any physical changes to your swing, it’s usually going to happen then. When you’re in the cage, even before a game, it kind of becomes subconscious. But again, once you’re up at the plate you have to eliminate any thought of what of you’re doing, and just compete. These guys are too good for you to be worried about what your swing is doing.”
Laurila: To what extent can a hitter make mechanical changes during the season? Read the rest of this entry »