"It has been a good year," said Mangum. "It helps to have Gene (Wood) batting behind me because they normally throw me pitches that I can hit. And that helps me out a lot."
Having a great hitter batting behind him is not the only reason for the exceptional year hitting the ball.
"This year, I am staying back a lot better," said Mangum. "I really focused more on staying back. If you stay back, it doesn't matter what they throw you, you are not going to get fooled. That helped me have a better pitch selection this year. And it really helped me out hitting the curveball. I think that was a problem for me last year, not staying back."
He also gives his dad, former Alabama football star John Mangum, credit for giving him help with his hitting.
"My dad watches every one of my games and he is on it whether it is a 15-0 (game) or 1-0 in a big situation," said Mangum. " We usually talk for an hour. Every swing matters to him. Whatever I do wrong during a game, that is what I go fixed later that night or the next day."
Mangum, who plays both the outfield and pitches, has also improved dramatically on the mound as well, going 7-0 with 3 saves and a 1.26 ERA. He normally throws in the high 80s, topping out at 94.
"I am pushing off the mound better this year," he said. "I worked with Brent Leach during the offseason and he really showed me how to pitch. He is in the Brewers organization and he pitched at Brandon (MS) High School. In my 9th grade, sophomore year and junior year I wasn't pitching, I was just throwing. This is the first year that I actually feel like I am a pitcher."
Mississippi State's coaching staff will give him the opportunity to hit and pitch next fall.
"The plan is for me to be an outfielder next year, but if I do good pitching in the fall, then they will keep pitching me," said Mangum. "If I don't do well pitching, then I will just play outfield."
Mangum has kept up with how his future team is doing this season. In fact, he has attended quite a few Mississippi State games this season.
"I have been to about 15 games this year," said Mangum. "I go there all the time. And I try to keep up with every single game. There are a great group of guys up there and that is one of the reasons that I am going to play up there. They really are a family. Even in a down year they are still a family. Most teams that are struggling, they will be arguing in the dugout. You don't see that with them. Those guys are still playing for something. Last Sunday against LSU they went out there and won. And they had them Thursday night and the guy fell down going around third. They are just snake bit. There is nothing that you can do but keep working."
In addition to keeping up with his future team, he is also keeping up with most of the members of the signing class that he is coming in with next season.
"Most of the signees played together with Dulins Dodgers, and I got to know a lot of them," said Mangum. "I talk to them about once a week. I talk to my roommate, Luke Alexander, every day. We have a really close group of friends who will play together next year."
Mangum has plans on being at Mississippi State next season but there is a chance he could be drafted in the June Major League Baseball draft. He talked about that possibility.
"Scouts are looking at me as a pitcher, but I try to stay out of the scout stuff," he said. "I am just going to play ball. If (I am drafted) it happens. But I want to be a Bulldog now. There is something about that place. You had (the) Thunder and Lightning (documentary) on last night (which was about MSU's Rafael Palmeiro and Will Clark) And people from California were tweeting about the tradition they have at Mississippi State. You don't really see tradition like that anywhere else.
"It is going to be so much fun up there. I am so excited."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.