Mariners #3 RF: Mitch Haniger – 10.9 fWAR
You know, if there was one Mariners player that I could pick to have a healthy career, Mitch Haniger would be up there. Sure, there are other ones that you could definitely point to. However, Haniger’s on the team right now, so it’s the one that sticks out and always comes to mind.
Throw out 2019. He was hurt, playing hurt, and nothing went right for him. That leaves three seasons in Seattle that he has gotten to play (since he missed all of 2020). Do you know what his 162 game averages are?
32 HR, 100 R, 92 RBI, 6 SB, 32 2B, .263/.339/.481. That’s with a BABIP that is well below league average as well. I know he is unlikely to play 162 games, but he’s had freak injuries, so I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to think he plays in the mid-150s for games, which is what he did in 2018 and 2021.
2018 easily stands out as the best of his career so far, and put the league on notice that not only was Haniger a good player, he was a legitimate All-Star and someone capable of finishing near the top of the MVP voting. He finished with a 4.5 fWAR that year, although this is one of the biggest differences I can remember seeing between Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference, as they have him at a 6.5. Regardless of what WAR you want to give him, he had an incredible season.
.285/.366/.493, 38 2B, 26 HR, 90 R, 93 RBI, 137 WRC+
With the added power last year, Haniger has a shot at finishing top-10 MVP again. There are just too many insanely good players out there right now for him to win it, but finishing in that 5-7 range seems plausible. He’s currently the 3rd best Mariners RF of all-time. I don’t think there’s any argument to be made, currently, that he is 2nd. However, If he ends up re-signing and sticking around, then there is an amazing chance that he gets to number 2. For now, that belongs to The Bone.