Photo: Jon Wells
Mitchell Evan Haniger
Height: 6'2" Weight: 210
Bats/Throws: Right / Right
Born: 12/23/1990 in Mountain View, California
College: Cal Poly SLO
Family: Wife Amanda
Acquired: In trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks, with Jean Segura and Zac Curtis, for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte (11/23/2016)
MLB Debut: 08/16/2016
Free Agent after: 2022 season
Twitter handle: @M_Hanny17
Haniger showed us he was the real deal in his rookie campaign last year, and this season picked up right where he left off, batting .309/.384/.701 in the first month. We half-jokingly declared he would be the 2018 AL Batting Champ when he went 3-for-3 on Opening Day, but he may have a better shot at other things—like MVP.
Mitch has been Mr. Clutch all season, putting up a slash line with runners in scoring position approaching .300/.400/.500. He steps it up another notch in the late innings—at this writing, his line from the 7th inning on is .304/.396/.772. He's second in the league to J.D. Martínez in RBI, and perhaps most impressively, he leads the AL in outfield assists. Oh, and he's hit more walk-off homers just this month that Ken Griffey Jr. did in his whole career.
Thus far, Haniger is not among the top vote-getters in the All-Star balloting, but he should be on the AL squad this year and perhaps for years to come. The league is noticing, too—Cleveland manager Terry Francona declared Hanger "is getting dangerous" and the Yankee-centered blog Bronx to Bushville favorably compares Hangier to Giancarlo Stanton and declares Haniger's play on the west coast "worth staying up for."
Not content with mere on-field heroics, Mitch impresses off the field as well. For example, on June 12th he organized an outing for cancer patients at Seattle Children's Hospital that brought kids to the ballpark to hang out with him and some of his teammates; the kids were given custom-made baseball cards with their own pictures on them and got to enjoy the big-league atmosphere in style. Haniger plans to do more of that sort of thing as his career goes on, saying, "the more people you can bring up with you while you are having success—it shows who you are. That’s something I want to keep doing." Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto is so enamored with the Mariner right fielder's conduct both on and off the field that he's said "when you want your son to grow up and be a baseball player, you want him to be [like] Mitch Haniger."