In the annals of history great thinkers have often opined on the virtues of simplicity, with Leonardo Da Vinci aptly wrapping up the sentiment by stating that it, “is the ultimate sophistication.”
With a nod towards his hitting coach, Mager has become Lowell’s best all-around hitter this season, striving in big situations and helping the team to a 29-22 mark.
“Noah Hall has been great,” said Mager. “He's really keeping things simple for me with a see ball, hit ball emphasis. The game is going to dictate my approach sometimes. Whether there is a man on third with less than two outs or bases loaded with no outs, I'm going to take a certain approach to those at-bats.”
This approach has helped Mager regain his stride after starting the season coming off of the bench for the Greenville Drive.
In 47 games with the Spinners, Mager is hitting .284 with 13 extra base hits, 26 RBIs and 21 runs, numbers that have earned him a spot in Tuesday’s New York-Penn League All Star Game.
“It's nice, I'm playing pretty much every day here,” said Mager. “You get to the park, see your name is in the lineup and you don't have to wonder whether or not you are playing.
“Every day, just going to the park and playing, it's just great. You really learn a lot about yourself playing that many games in such a short amount of time.”
Mager only made 17 appearances with the Drive, and one of those was as a relief pitcher where he tossed a shutout inning versus Charleston on May 18th.
Lowell also used him in the same capacity on June 30th, albeit with different results as he allowed two runs on three hits in a ninth inning stint.
Of course it has been easy to forgive that performance given what he has done at the plate.
On a team that has a combined .228 batting average, third worst in the league, Mager has been a model of consistency throughout, with 11 multi-hit games and two six-game hitting streaks to his credit.
“I feel pretty good right now,” said Mager. “I'm getting up in some big situations with a lot of guys on, so I'm coming through and that always feels good. I'm just trying to keep it going.”
Undrafted out of Rollins College in 2012, Mager signed with the Red Sox as a free agent and played 32 games with Gulf Coast where he hit just .205.
He did also make it up to Lowell at the end of last season, playing in three games and collecting two hits.
“The player I was last year and the player I am this year is completely different,” said Mager. “I've learned so much, especially in my first spring training. I'm just refining those skills I picked up, taking them here and hopefully taking them to the playoffs. It's exciting stuff once you see the improvements.”
His development has him currently leading the Spinners in average, doubles, RBIs, runs, walks and total bases, but the most important lesson learned from last year to this is the artistry of simplicity.
“I try to keep things loose at all times,” said Mager. “Keep things simple, especially this late in the season. Keep reps to a minimum but keep them also very productive.”
Mager will put his talents on display at the NYPL All Star Game in Norwich, Connecticut on Tuesday night and will be joined by teammates Sergio Gomez and Joe Gunkel.
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