LA Angels: Impressions from Inland Empire 66ers Media Day
By Ryan Falla
1B David MacKinnon
David MacKinnon entered the 66ers in 2018 as a relatively unheralded prospect after slashing .261/.438/.351 with the Low A Burlington Bees. MacKinnon was brought up to replace the surging 1B Jared Walsh after he was called up to Double just a month into the 2018 season. MacKinnon has shown a natural affinity for defensive play at 1B, an affinity he attributes to years of time as a soccer goalie in college.
As he likes to describe it, the skills needed to become a great goalie are one in the same with those skills needed to become a great defensive 1B. Quick reflexes, agile feet, litheness in movement and exceptional reflexive range.
As a first baseman MacKinnon knows that offensive production is the name of the game and that attitude started to reflect in his hitting approach as the 2018 neared its end. In his first three months as a 66er MacKinnon hit just 2 home runs, but at the end of the season?
MacKinnon spent August absolutely raking the ball, all in all he flashed a slash line of .363/.487/.626 with 4 HR’s, 12 Doubles, and 22 RBI’s in that month. For reference, that RBI total is double his previous highest total (11 RBIs in July).
Los Angeles Angels
None of that came from a fluke streak, though MacKinnon naturally produces low-line drives with his swing he began to put a focus on getting lifts with strong exit velocity on his drives.
MacKinnon [on his improved hitting to end 2018]: “I made a bunch of swing changes last year and some other adjustments. I’ve continued doing the drill I was doing at the end of last year and made sure my stance looks the same.
I’m a big believer that your stance is your stance and the swing will happen. If you start everything right everything else should follow, the swing and everything else. I focused a lot on that in the offseason plus getting more comfortable doing all that stuff since it was new last year.
The toughest part of any season is getting used to live pitching again and getting used to putting the ball in the air a little bit more. It’s been easier to hit the ball on the line for me, produce those low-line drives, so I’m working on putting the ball in the air and continuing what I did last year.”
“As a first-baseman that’s kinda what you need to do. If you’re playing a corner position your job is to hit pretty much. The defense isn’t secondary, but your job when you get to the big leagues is to hit and put numbers up. The biggest thing for me is maintaining what I did at the end of last year and carrying it over into a full year, not just for one month.”
MacKinnon [on his goals for 2019]: I think the goal for everyone is to move up as fast as possible. It’s a blessing to be here again, I take every advantage of it and I enjoy being here as long as I am.Hopefully I play well and get to move up, the Angels are aggressive.
They’ve moved guys up two places in a year. I think everyone’s goal in the Angels system is to move up two levels. If you don’t have lofty goals there’s no real point of playing baseball. If you’re not playing to get to the big leagues than what’s the point? The goals always to get to the big leagues, is that gonna happen this year? I don’t know, maybe not. That’s always the goal though, that’s where my minds at, I want to get there as fast as possible.
Hopefully I end up in Anaheim in the next year or so.