Drew Maggi – No pressure, No diamonds

The Dodgers have re-signed infielder Drew Maggi to a minor league contract for 2017. He will be heading into his eighth minor league season with his third MLB organization.

Maggi was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He attended Brophy College Preparatory School in Phoenix being one of four Maggi siblings to attend Brophy.

After graduation at Brophy he attended Arizona State University in Tempe and was instrumental in leading ASU into the College World Series in 2010.

Maggi had been selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 47th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft but chose to continue his education after committing to Arizona State. The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him in the 15th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft. This time Maggi signed.

The 6’ 0”/192- pound shortstop rose quickly through the Pirate minor league reaching All-Star status with the Altoona Curve of the Eastern League in 2014. For whatever reason, perhaps because he was a bit old for the AA Eastern League, Maggi was released by the Curve following his All-Star season.

He became a free agent and signed with the Angels with whom he was assigned to the Arkansas Travelers of the AA Texas League for the 2015 season. He and his brother Beau both signed with the Angels in March of 2015.

That season with the Little Rock franchise proved to be one of Maggi’s most difficult in his minor league career. His batting average fell to .242, down from 280 the previous year, and he struck out a career high 82 times. However, he was again chosen as a mid-season All-Star and proved his versatility by playing second base, shortstop, third base and left field for the Travelers.

Following his lone season with the Angels’ organization, he chose to become a free agent. He had not found a comfort level on the field and off the field his apartment had a revolving door with seven different roommates during the season.

The right-handed hitting Maggi waited for almost three months before being signed by the Dodgers on January 24, 2016. He initially was assigned to the Oklahoma City Dodgers of the Pacific Coast League and made his debut with the Dodgers on April 10 against the Nashville Sounds.

After three games with the OKC Dodgers he was assigned to the Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League. Maggi played three more games with the Dodgers in mid-May with three hits in eight at at bats but once again was returned to the Drillers.

In his combined 110 games in 2016, Maggi played 54 at shortstop, 26 at third base, 16 at second base and three in left field. And for good measure, he also pitched a third of an inning.
(Photo credit – Tony Capobianco)

He remained with the Drillers until July 20 before finishing the season with the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers. With the Drillers in 61 games he hit .299 with an OBP of .376 while being selected as a mid-season All-Star for the third consecutive season. He played primarily shortstop while chipping in a few games at second base, third base and left field.

In 49 games with the Dodgers Maggi hit .275 with an OBP of .352. In the field, he played about equal time at second base and third base with six games at shortstop and two in left field.

Drew Maggi’s value lies in his versatility, his speed and his value as a teammate. How valuable was he to the Drillers? The evidence speaks for itself.

The Drillers enjoyed their most success in 2016 when the 27-year-old infielder was in the lineup. He was the steadying influence in the field, described as the “glue in the infield” in one report. When Maggi was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on July 20, the Drillers were 51-42. They went 17-29 during the rest of the season.

The Drillers were literally saturated with All-Stars in 2016, nine in all. Teammate Chase De Jong, when asked, picked Maggi as his team’s first-half MVP. “I’d pick a guy like Drew Maggi,” De Jong said. “With his clutch defense and his ability to grind out at-bats and steal some bases he keeps the team in games. He’s the kind of guy you want on your team. You need [guys like] Drew Maggi to be successful as a unit.”

Maggi experienced his first real taste of Triple-A ball in 2016 but only after being returned to the Drillers twice on brief call ups to the Oklahoma City Dodgers. They weren’t demotions but more like organizational shuffling which included the parent Dodgers, but nevertheless returning to AA was not all that easy for Maggi. However, he took it all in stride.

“There’s a lot of feelings that go with it,” Maggi said. “Coming up, you obviously feel awesome for getting called up but there’s feelings like there’s so much to do. I had to get out of a lease, make calls, figure out stuff and then to get sent back down, after such a short time, is tough. You never want to get sent down.”

Contributing to his positive attitude in 2016 was his contentment with his teammates, many younger than him, and the way they related to each other on and off the field.

“We grew up fast,” Maggi said. “We got a lot of young guys who at first were getting comfortable in Double-A. They adapted well. We picked up a couple starters like Brock Stewart (leads Texas League in ERA/WHIP with 1.12/0.83) and Trevor Oaks (leads Texas League in wins with seven) and a couple bullpen guys. I mean, we just do everything well now. On top of that, we’re a pretty lively, cocky group,” he added. “I wouldn’t say cocky in a bad way. There’s a difference between cocky and arrogant and we’re not arrogant. We’re cocky with each other too. We challenge each other. There are things that have gone on a week ago that people are still getting crap for.”

After two years of disappointment in other organizations Maggi is happy to be a Dodger.

“They take good care of us so well,” Maggi said of the Dodgers. “They actually try to make us a better baseball player. I’m happy. In five years of playing pro ball, (Tulsa and Oklahoma City) have been the two best spots, like field-wise, clubhouse, fields; they’ve been the two nicest.”

What does the future hold for Maggi? I would expect him to start the 2017 season with the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers and with continued good play get an opportunity during the season to sit on a bench and maybe play in the field as a Los Angeles Dodger.

At some point in the next few years I would not be surprised, but rather expect, that Maggi will become a coach in the Dodgers youth movement among minor league coaches and managers. He has all the prerequisites.

“Yeah there were tough situations but that has made me the player I am today,” Maggi said. “The experiences and the stuff that I been through made me a better player and a better guy.”

Despite his ups and downs Drew Maggi still subscribes to Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III’s latest motto: “No pressure, No diamonds.”

 

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5 Responses to “Drew Maggi – No pressure, No diamonds”

  1. SoCalBum says:

    Good signing by Dodgers; this is the type of player that you want on a team with youngsters like Bellinger, Verdugo, Calhoun, et al.

  2. Ron Cervenka says:

    I suspect that Maggi will have a difficult time making it back to the bigs with the Dodgers, especially with the big contract that JT just received. That said and as SCB noted, he is a perfect mentor for the slew of (very) young top prospects who figure to pass through OKC on their way to the big club in 2017 … and beyond.

    Great piece, Harold.

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      Hoping he gets a call up like Charlie Culberson did. Once you break the ice you never know. He is very versatile with good speed so might catch on somewhere if he gets that first cup of coffee as they say.

      He is the consummate team player and has “coach” written all over him.

      His brother Beau gave up the chase after 2015 and went back to college.

      • Ron Cervenka says:

        Although not necessarily a bad thing, the Dodgers have plenty of Culberson/Segedin/Taylor/Johnson and – more recently – Darin Ruf-types on their 40-man. And while this may bode well for the OKC Dodgers, it kind of creates almost too much competition (if there is such a thing) for non-40-man guys like Maggi.

        In my opinion, the best hope for guys like Drew is/are (gulp) injuries to guys on the 25-man and even 40-man rosters. And while hope spring eternal and all that, this is a hell of a way to make a living – i.e. waiting (or even hoping) that guys ahead of them on the depth chart get hurt.

        Even if Maggi were to get ‘the magic phone call’ up to the bigs (as an injury replacement), unless he has immediate overwhelming success, his time with the big boys will be very closely scrutinized and his longevity always at risk. But such is the nature of the beast.

  3. oldbrooklynfan says:

    He might have magic in his name like “DiMaggio”.

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