Bradley Baseball’s Luke Mangieri stands at 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 215 pounds, but he is actually the smallest of his four brothers.
Mangieri’s three brothers have all played Division I football. The family resides in Dunlap, Illinois, and represents the Peoria area well.
Mangieri has proved himself to be a key contributor to the resurgent Bradley baseball team this season and said he is proud to be a Brave.
“It is really cool being a hometown kid,” Mangieri said. “I grew up following Bradley baseball and going to Dozer Park to watch the team. I always dreamed of playing high-level baseball.”
Like his brothers, Luke played football. He played wide receiver in high school, but said he was not big or fast enough to earn a scholarship offer.
“I was good at baseball and football was not right for me, so I invested most of my time to baseball,” Mangieri said.
The Braves have found a star in Mangieri, a five-tool first baseman. At the conclusion of the 2018 season, Mangieri had a .322 average, 34 RBIs, 8 stolen bases and an .990 fielding percentage. Bradley’s baseball head coach Elvis Dominguez has moved Mangieri around the diamond and lineup in each of Mangieri’s three years on the hilltop.
“Luke came in as a third baseman with some defensive flaws,” Dominguez said. “We moved him to first base and he has worked hard to make himself a great defender. Also, he has made changes at the plate to put him at the elite level.”
Mangieri has remained in the top third of the lineup throughout his Bradley career, boasting a .410 on base percentage. As a freshman, he led off. His sophomore season, he drove in 35 runs while batting third, and this year he has scored the most runs in his career. Mangieri contributes his success to his positive attitude in life and on the field.
“The key to my game is my mindset,” Mangieri said. “I go into every game positive. I try to do my job and do what is expected of me. I am flexible and try to play unselfishly. I work to treat every at bat as if it is the first of the year and get the most out of each opportunity.”
Mangieri’s opportunity may be coming sooner rather than later. There is a high chance he will be drafted in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft this summer.
“My goal of playing in the major leagues will likely become closer to reality soon,” Mangieri said. “I have talked to a few scouts and they send me messages to keep in touch.”
Throughout Dominguez’s tenure at Bradley, 19 players have been drafted; including two alums that are knocking on the door to the majors at the AAA level: third baseman Jason Leblebijian (Toronto Blue Jays) and outfielder Mike Tauchman (Colorado Rockies).
“There is no science to the draft and Luke has no control of his draft position,” said Dominguez. “I know he is going to get his chance [to make the major leagues]. It could be this summer or next but, if he keeps grinding it will pay off. He has done a great job throughout his time at Bradley.”
Mangieri could be the next on a long list of central Illinois-born professional baseball players. You never know, maybe the next hall of famer after Peoria-born Jim Thome.
This story is part of the Scout 2018 summer special issue. Read the full summer issue.