Mariners Haniger Living Up To All The Presason Hype
As we’ve said over and over again in the first week and a half of the Mariners 2017 season, the team doesn’t have much to cheer about. Thankfully there a few bright spots, one of the being the newly added rookie, Mitch Haniger.
Over the handful of months before the regular season began, the idea arose that maybe Haniger was the prized possession in the Mariners swap to get Jean Segura in exchange for Ketel Marte, Taijuan Walker trade back on Thanksgiving Eve.
We’re only 10 games into the new baseball year, but one could argue that Haniger is not just the best rookie on the M’s but that he is also the best offensive player on the team.
During spring workouts and spring training, the coaching staff began to fall in love with Haniger’s natural ability. If you remember, M’s manager, Scott Servais, had said early on in March the Haniger was the most impressive player he saw.
It turns out that what Servais saw is coming to life on the biggest stage.
Related Story: Is Haniger Aiming For ROY?
Over 24 games in spring ball, a spring league-leading 11 doubles, three stolen bases, two home runs, a triple, scored 12 runs and had the 8th best spring batting average of .385.
And in the regular season, things are going even better.
In just under a dozen ball games, Haniger already has three home runs against big league pitching putting on pace for 48 for the season, scored 10 runs, driven in six RBIs and stolen two bases. His games played (10), runs scored, and plate appearances (48) are the most in all of baseball.
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Statistically, in the AL, it’s a two-man race for the Rookie of the Year Award. In the easiest of check-ins, it appears that Haniger will be battling out another right fielder, Aaron Judge, for the award.
Judge has played eight games with the Yankees as opposed to Haniger’s 10 with the M’s but the two are kneck and kneck in many statistical categories. While they are tied in home runs, Judge actually leads Haniger with one more RBI, has a better batting average (.308).
They are also very close in doubles (2 apart with Haniger ahead), and OBP (.04 difference with Haniger ahead).
If Haniger were to go on to win the award, he would be just the fourth Mariners player to do so alongside Ichiro, Alvin Davis, and Kazuhiro Sasaki. As most M’s fans know, all three of these men went on to have incredible careers. More importantly, our own contributor, Riley Baker, will have correctly picked the award winner.
Let’s hope Haniger becomes a part of Mariners lore because if he does and the core members of the M’s get going like we expect them to at some point, no one will want to face this team.