Projecting the 2018 Seattle Mariners: Mitch Haniger

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 20: Mitch Haniger
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 20: Mitch Haniger /

As a Mariners fan, there are only a few reasons to be optimistic about the future. With a broken farm system, and a team whose window is closing, the Mariners are relying on a 27-year-old outfielder to help carry them into the playoffs.

The outfielder is none other than Mitch Haniger. Haniger, the afterthought to most in the Mariners Jean Segura for Taijuan Walker trade, burst onto the scene in 2017. In just 96 games, the rookie slashed .282/.352/.491, slamming 16 home runs on the way to posting a rock solid 3.0 bWAR.

In addition to his solid contributions at the plate, Haniger also provided excellent defense in right field. He posted a respectable 8 DRS (defensive runs saved) and a 6.1 UZR150. Both indicate a plus corner outfielder, who can play center on occasion.

The big question surrounding Haniger is simple: is he the real deal? We have seen similar stories play out in Seattle before. Who could forget Dustin Ackley’s debut? He gave the fan base hope with his .273/.348/.417 slash in his first 90 games.

Haniger had a similar start to his career. So what do we think of Haniger? Is he just another Dustin Ackley? Or could he be the real deal? The verdict at Sodo Mojo is…

Sodo Mojo’s Projections for Mitch Haniger: 575 PA, 150 hits, 27 doubles, 3 triples, 20 HR, 71 RBI, 50 walks .286/.348/.463

As you may surmise, we are choosing to believe that Haniger is the real deal. Why? To protect our sanity, duh. Ok, so that was a joke (kinda) but it is difficult to watch Haniger and not come away with the same conclusion.

Our real concern with the young outfielder is how much can he play. Haniger made 2 trips to the disabled list in 2017. The first time was for a strained oblique that knocked him out for 6 weeks. The second time was a 3 week stint after being hit in the face by a Jacob deGrom fastball.

The Mariners can sorely afford to be without Haniger for extended periods of time in 2018. The team has little depth behind him (thanks Jerry), and a new centerfielder who is learning on the job. The Mariners need Mitch Haniger to be at his best in 2018. Otherwise, the drought will extend to 17 long, miserable years.