By Kyle Melnick
In the spring, Trey Mancini traveled to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., to receive help from former Orioles All-Star outfielder Brady Anderson.
Through Anderson's coaching, Mancini changed his posture at the plate, standing up taller and keeping his legs close together. The two also worked on getting more height on Mancini's hits.
The training paid off.
Mancini is batting .316 with 10 home runs in 64 games with the Single-A Frederick Keys and Double-A Bowie Baysox this season.
Since being called up by Bowie June 4, the first baseman is hitting .326 with two home runs and 10 RBIs. Though most players' statistics drop after being moved up, Mancini's power at the plate has made a smooth transition.
"I've been more relaxed," Mancini said June 17 on Glenn Clark Radio. "Baseball, it's almost a cliché now, but it really is a mental game, and that's what I've been trying to work on. Forgetting about everything that happened earlier in the game, and it's been working out."
Last season, it took Mancini 52 games to hit his first home run with the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds. This year, Mancini, who was drafted by the Orioles during the eighth round of the 2013 draft, hit his first home run during his second game with Frederick. In just his ninth at bat, Mancini hit his second ball out of the park.
Mancini batted .284 with 10 home runs with three different Single-A teams in 2014. In 52 games with Frederick this year, the 23-year-old hit .314 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs, which helped lead to his promotion to Bowie.
Even in a more talented league, Mancini has been more efficient at the plate.
"You start to think about the power, and you kind of dig yourself in a hole. I did that last year," Mancini said. "Honestly, power is something you can't think about. If you start to think about your home run numbers, you're just going to dig yourself in a big hole. You have to focus on getting a good swing on the ball."
Though Mancini is thriving in his new league, he has noticed a difference between Single-A and Double-A.
In Single-A, it's common to see a fastball if the pitcher's team is trailing, Mancini said. But in Double-A, pitchers will throw any type of pitch in any count.
Mancini has focused on depicting the opposing pitcher's plan, and creating his own plan at the plate to counter that.
"Sometimes, they'll just hand you a curveball or elevate the fastball a little bit too much, and that's when your home runs come," Mancini said. "You don't think about it too much."
In his third season in the Orioles' organization, Mancini is one of organization's top-hitting prospects. He's a potential candidate to take over at first base for the Orioles in the upcoming years, with both Chris Davis and Steve Pearce set to become free agents after this season. Though Mancini hopes to get a chance to play in the major leagues soon, he's focused on improving his game instead of worrying about his future.
"Anybody would be lying if they said they didn't think about [the future] at all," Mancini said. "There are always going to be guys at this level that you can compete against. You just have to do so well that people can't ignore you."