Every July, Major League Baseball teams come together to select elite players from across the globe. Dreams are made and journeys begin. This July for Mac McCroskey, that dream became true, and his new journey began. In the 20th round of the 2023 MLB draft, McCroskey saw his name come
Every July, Major League Baseball teams come together to select elite players from across the globe. Dreams are made and journeys begin. This July for Mac McCroskey, that dream became true, and his new journey began. In the 20th round of the 2023 MLB draft, McCroskey saw his name come across the board as the newest draftee of the Los Angeles Angels.
Born and raised in Springdale, Arkansas, McCroskey grew up knowing baseball was his pride and joy. He had the opportunity to play at the collegiate level where he eventually landed at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and his teammates made history when they played their way into the Men’s College World Series for just the second time in school history.
McCroskey has earned his way to the Rocket City Trash Pandas as a promising middle infielder. While not the biggest player in stature, he has shown promise with his glove and his speed. Mostly playing at second base for the Trash Pandas has given him incredible experience to start his career as a professional.
Recently, McCroskey took the time to talk about his baseball career and his adjustment to the minor leagues.
Q: What did baseball life look like growing up for you? Were you a multi-sport athlete?
A: I mainly just played baseball. When I got to junior high though I tried out for basketball and football. But I was always smaller than everybody. So, once I got to high school, I just decided that baseball would be my go-to.
Q: What drew what drew you to Oral Roberts?
A: I actually attended Cowley Community College my freshman year. I didn't play as much as I wanted to, so I transferred to Eastern Oklahoma State. It also happened to be the same year that COVID-19 happened. So, then I had the choice to go to a different school or come back to Eastern Oklahoma. I had a couple offers, but nowhere that best fit me. So, I went back to Eastern for another year. And then Oral Roberts offered me in the fall. It was just the best fit for me and it was so close to home.
Q: Could you give us a rundown of the historic run to the College World Series you guys had this past season at Oral Roberts?
A: It was so much fun. It was truly a dream come true and all you dream about as a little kid. Being able to actually do that in my final college season was awesome. Especially since we had a lot of older guys on the team. Having that older leadership in the locker room and on the field helped make that team what it was.
Q: You were in college two months ago. Now you're playing Double-A baseball. Tell us about that experience. Is there anything to credit from college ball that made that transition easier?
A: It’s definitely been a huge jump. Getting used to the pitching is a great challenge because every pitcher you face is elite. But I think the more at-bats I get, the more settled down I will get. I won’t lie, coming here I was extremely nervous and definitely playing a little tense. But I’ve started to loosen up a bit as the season goes on.
Q: You get the draft call from Los Angeles Angels. What was that feeling like? What were you doing?
A: I was actually on the phone with three other teams about a free agent signing when the Angels called. At that point I was going back and forth on the phone with the other teams. I kept pacing around the house, in and out of the living room trying to explain to my parents what was going on. And then my name popped up on the board as a draft pick. At that point I was like alright that's pretty awesome. Being able to experience that with my family was just incredible.
Q: How do you like Rocket City so far?
A: It's so nice. I have liked it a lot. The guys here on the team are awesome. They were very welcoming to me when I got here. The fans here are great too and they really love the guys here, so it’s just been a lot of fun.
Q: What aspect of your game can you improve on the most?
A: Cutting down on strikeouts for sure. Like I said whenever I first got here, I was playing really tense. So trying to play more loose and see more at-bats will definitely help with that.
Q: What was your family's reaction when they found out you were going to play for a team called the Trash Pandas?
A: They were very excited. They had actually heard of the Trash Pandas from TikTok. I've had lots of people reach out to me asking for gear and hats.
Q: Is there anyone in the clubhouse that you have gotten close to?
A: T-Payne (Tyler Payne) for sure because I live with him and I'm around him the most. It’s been awesome to get to know him. But I have also gotten to know everyone in the locker room as well. They have all taken me in so it’s been great getting to know everybody.
Q: Would you say that your defense is what you feel most comfortable with right now?
A: My defense is what I feel most comfortable in. I'm still making an adjustment there as well. The game has certainly sped up a lot. But I think the best thing I bring to the table is defense. The ground balls are coming in harder now. I played on turf in college so it's a bit different than what I’m used to. If a field well taken care of like this field is here, then I would prefer it over turf.
Q: How does it feel to be in the same organization as two All-Time greats like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani?
A: It's a crazy feeling to think of since I watched them on TV growing up. Just to see the things they’re doing and think that I could be out there with those guys is unbelievable. It will be hard not to fangirl a little bit when I am around them. So hopefully when the time comes, I'll get to go out there and make the most of it.