PEORIA, Ill. — Luke Mangieri spent the past few months getting in 200 to 250 swings a day to prepare for this baseball season.
“They always say, you bat is your best friend. If you can hit, you can play for as long as you want,” said the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league slugger. “I’m working on getting more more this year. If I ultimately want to make it, my power needs to go up, for sure.”
In an effort to be a more consistent hitter with a few more homers to his resume, Mangieri spent the winter at home using technology to better his swing.
The former Dunlap High School and Bradley star wore an electronic vest with sensors on his arms and elbows to monitor every inch of his swing. Then he’d watch his swing on a laptop computer during a practice session.
“Before this, I’ve never really known what’s going on in my stance,” Mangieri said. “It’s kind of opening my eyes on my posture. I love it.”
His batting practice sessions are tracked by computers and evaluated by his swing coach Ken Brooke.
“We have a blast sensor that we put on his bat that shows his swing speed,” Brooke said. “Our ‘Hit Trax’ machine is great because it shows launch angle. For him, for power, he needs to elevate the ball more. Get a little more life.”
Luke left for Florida on Friday and has reported to Pirates minor league spring training. This will be his first full week of spring training.
He’s ready to see if his high-tech winter work will pay off.
“I’ve really worked hard this off season. Really harder than I have before,” Mangieri said. “This is the most confident I’ve been in my baseball career.”