Ah, April. The best time for unrealistically awesome stats. While many have looked at scorching hot slugger Didi Gregorius or legendary outfielder Mike Trout, a little known outfielder in Seattle is hitting up a storm and perhaps deserves more attention. His name is Mitch Haniger.
Haniger, 27, was acquired by Seattle along with Jean Segura two off-seasons ago in exchange for Ketel Marte and Taijuan Walker. Walker, considered the headline of the deal, just underwent Tommy John surgery on a torn UCL. Marte has struggled out of the gates after signing a team friendly 6-year extension. The Mariners, meanwhile, have reaped the benefits of the deal. Segura, a former Angel, Brewer and Diamondback, has taken the role of starting shortstop for Seattle, and has been effective when healthy. In 2 seasons with Seattle (including this year) he has accrued 100 Runs with 13 home runs and 27 stolen bases and a .300 average. Yet the person that is impressing most in the deal is Haniger.
Haniger has been on fire in 2018. In 27 games, he’s crushed 10 home runs and knocked in 27 RBIs with a batting average of .300. Additionally, he’s taken 12 walks to bring his OBP to .377. Haniger has also shown ability to perform under pressure. His .324 average and 2 home runs behind in the count this season aren’t far off from his .321 average with 3 home runs while ahead in the count. He’s also tacked on 6 doubles, giving him 68 TB on the year. This would put him on pace to hit 60 home runs and collect 162 RBIs.
His 10 home runs have him tied for first place with Mike Trout and Didi Gregorius. Not far behind them is Braves youngster Ozzie Albies, Charlie Blackmon, and Matt Davidson. His RBI total is also second in the league, just trailing Gregorius, who has 30. Behind him? Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Manny Machado, and Freddie Freeman.
Whew. I’m getting ahead of myself. Obviously, these numbers aren’t 100% attainable, but his hot start gives Mariner fans reason to get excited. Last season he hit 16 home runs and tacked on 47 RBI in 98 games, so there’s reason to believe that he is just getting started.
The Mariners are heating up, now tied for second place with the Los Angeles Angels, still chasing down the reigning World Series Champion Houston Astros. At 16-11, there’s a lot of season left and if they make a playoff run, Haniger could be the difference. He may not be Mike Trout, but the media should get used to his name.
(Image via SoDo Mojo)