Mariners Bold Prediction #5: Mitch Haniger turns in his second-best season ever
I don't know that I have been this excited about a former player coming back to the Mariners since Griffey came back. That was pure nostalgia there, even though Griffey was definitely at the end of his career since he came back at 39 years old. Mitch Haniger is just 33, and is looking to return to that form he had in Seattle.
2021 wasn't that long ago, and it was the last time that Haniger was healthy. My guy has had a rash of weird injuries and (WARNING - Not for the faint of heart) was the basis for one of the weirdest stats ever seen in the world of baseball. He would hit 39 homers that season while driving in 100 RBI.
Haniger, fully healthy, is able to play passable defense in RF. He's actually alright out there, and knowing that he has Julio next to him, is able to focus on a smaller are to cover. A 0.0 dWAR, or maybe just a bit better, helps his overall WAR numbers. On offense he really shines, playing around 130 games. The Mariners give him plenty of rest days and work on rotating DH spots with he, Garver, and Dumper.
Haniger ends up hitting .266 with 27 HR and posts a 3.4 WAR on the season, his second-best mark of his career and topping that 2021 season. I'd love to finish on a wild note and say he posts his best season ever, but he would need 40 2B, 30+ HR, and to slash like .285/.370/.500 in order to one-up that 2018 season when he finished with a 6.5 WAR, the 17th best mark in team history.
Do you have any bold predictions? Let us know, and as always, go Mariners!