Growing up in the Kansas City area in the town of Peculiar, right handed pitcher Mark Sappington was drafted in fifth round by the Angels in 2012. A graduate of Raymore-Peculiar High School, Sappington attended Rockhurst College and was drafted after his junior year. Sappington was promoted to the Travelers on Aug. 2 and joined his friend and fellow Missourian Michael Morin who was called up on June 28.
You and Morin are from the same area and trained together in the off-season last year. What was it like knowing you two were going to be teammates again after starting out at Inland Empire (A)?
I spent all my time with him and he is my best friend in the Angels organization. We bonded, and we are very different but similar in other ways. I’m blessed to have him for a friend.
What was your reaction when you were told you were leaving A and going to AA?
I was very excited and had no apprehension and was ready to roll. I was sad to leave because you play 110 games with a group of guys and feel a commitment to those guys.
Where you anxious to get closer to home?
One of my first thoughts is I’m definitely going back to the humidity and more heat. One thing in California it is not as green as here, and I’m back in the central time zone. I’m also six and a half hours from home, and it feels like home here.
In an early scouting report, it noted you needed to work on a changeup. How is that going?
My changeup has come a long way. The number one thing, and the changeup is part of it, is working on becoming an athlete on the mound and not be so mechanical. I want to move more like an athlete and not think so much.
What’s your routine on game day? (He is 1-1 as a starter.)
For breakfast, I have oatmeal with brown sugar and milk. Then I hang out and eat lunch at 1 p.m. I go to Panera and do the Pick 2 with a Bacon Turkey Bravo with no tomatoes and chicken with wild rice soup. Right before, I will have a Red Bull and half of a protein bar. Other than that, I know exactly when it is time to go outside, play catch and go to the pen.
What are your goals and ambitions?
I just don’t want to make the Big Leagues, but I want to stay and win a World Series. As for this season, I wanted to start in high A and move to AA by the end of the season. Next year, I want a Big League spring training invite, start in AA and be in the Big Leagues by the end of the season. I just have to trust the process.
What do you do for fun?
I like to go to the coffee shop and talk to random strangers about life. I also work out for fun and play miniature golf because I’m horrible at real golf. In the off-season, I enjoy watching soccer and hanging out with my family and playing board games. We are pretty competitive.