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
Like most of the Mariners, Hangier did not have a good month of July (outside of making his first All-Star team, of course), batting a mere .191 for the month. He still got on base at a .353 clip, though, thus remaining a key contributor, if anything about that lousy month can be called "key" for the M's. August, however, is another story. Through the 13th of the month, Haniger is batting .415/.439/.623 in August. When manager Scott Servais decided to shake up the lineup before the series in Houston on the 9th, Haniger stepped into the leadoff role, and in that position he's hit .545/.565/.955. Granted, it's a small sample size, but he figures to stay in the top spot for a while—if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
We half-jokingly declared Haniger 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 leads the league in outfield assists; is currently fifth in the league in RBI; and can even steal a base when necessary. True, there are more flashy candidates for MVP—the Red Sox have a couple of guys that lead the pack—but without Mitch, the M's would be nowhere.
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."