(Photo via Mines Athletics, seen here)
Colorado School of Mines is known for producing top engineers, and accomplished mathematicians. Soon it might be known for producing Mikey Gangwish, who is currently a catcher for their program. Gangwish just finished his junior year, earning many honors including American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings First-Team All-America Catcher, and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Regional Player of the Year.
To Gangwish, those awards feel good because they show his hard work is paying off, but they aren’t the most important things to him. As a two-year captain, Gangwish cares most about the records the squad set together. The team set or tied 15 team records, most notably setting the team wins records, the single-season home run record, and runs scored in a season.
“Being a part of a team that had a lot of firsts for the program is what I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Gangwish said. Another thing Gangwish will remember from his time at School of Mines is what he learned as a Mechanical Engineering major. Gangwish also received Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference All-Academic honors, although it wasn’t easy to reach that point.
His freshman year he struggled to balance the tough academics at School of Mines with the desire to hang out with friends and play baseball. Now, he has a strategy that allows him to do all three successfully.
“When you go to the library it’s not time to mess around,” Gangwish said. “When you’re working on schoolwork you have to be working on schoolwork.” Focusing on whatever he is doing at the time allows Gangwish to do it all to the best of his ability. This is evidenced in the season he just had.
Gangwish ended the season slashing .373/.443/.825, with 24 home runs, and only six errors. He has been a consistently good defender throughout his career, with a career fielding percentage of .983 (13 errors in 124 games played). He strives to always be the best defender he can be, but improving his offense has been his main goal over his three years at School of Mines.
Gangwish believes he was able to hit for more power this season because he was focusing on building an opposite field approach instead of always being early. Before this season he always thought being aggressive meant getting to the ball, but this year he came to realize that letting the ball come to him could result in even better at bats.
Aside from his purely skills-based abilities, Gangwish brings a unique energy to the field.
“I always wanna be there and do more work and get better whenever I can,” Gangwish said. “If you can have that kind of kid approach to the game that it’s a good time no matter what and you’re lucky to be playing the game it gets way better.” He uses that pure love of playing to help him through games that aren’t going well, and keep his energy high when games get slow.
This summer, Gangwish will play in the Alaska Baseball League for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, the same team Orioles third baseman Danny Valencia played for the year before he got drafted. His goals for the summer are to build his physical strength so he can continue to progress into a power hitter. He also describes himself as a student of the game, and wants to study pitches and how they approach him so he can improve his at bats. Playing in the MLB is Gangwish’s number one dream, and he knows it will take hard work like this to get him there.
“School is really important and I’m going to get my degree, but I’m gonna try to play baseball,” Gangwish said. Out of high school, Gangwish wasn’t a top recruit, but through his hard work he’s made himself into a player with the potential to go a lot further, which he is determined to do.