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Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: MITCH HANIGER OUTFIELDER SEATTLE MARINERS

When spring training gets underway and the exhibition schedule commences, it is always a good idea to cover the emerging stories and players that could pay off big as late round sleepers.  One such story is taking place in the revamped Seattle Mariners outfield as late bloomer Mitch Haniger has become the object of manager Scott Servais' eye.  Servais has done nothing but praise Haniger up and down since spring training got underway and he continued to do so on Saturday as he installed him as he batted him sixth for the Cactus League game that afternoon.  So with that said, let's dig in more on Haniger who clearly is becoming something to keep in mind as a late round pick.

Already at the advancing age of 26 for a player who has not done much in the majors, Haniger is your consummate late bloomer who traveled through the Milwaukee, and Arizona systems before landing in Seattle in the Jean Segura trade this past winter.  Already acknowledged as an excellent defender in rightfield, Haniger's bat began to talk at both Double-A and Triple-A last season for the D-Backs.  In total, Haniger cracked 25 home runs and stole 12 bases at the two levels which no doubt is eye opening but he did that damage in the offensive haven that is the PCL.  That means some of Haniger's numbers last season in the minors need to be taken with a grain of salt but clearly the guy has some tools in the power and speed department.  How that translates to one of the best pitching parks in the majors is the ultimate question but at least Haniger should be put on late round sleeper lists to see what he does have in terms of ability.  Haniger did hit only .229 in his 34 games with the D-Backs late last season but he also hit 5 home runs which again speaks to the power.  With a K/9 rate with Arizona that was not awful at 22 percent in his cup of coffee run and with Haniger drawing walks at a very impressive 9.8 BB/9 clip, there is a lot to like here.  Haniger has always drawn a bunch of walks in the minors, going as high as 12-plus percent with his BB/9 and that means he should be at least a decent average guy to go with solid power and the wheels to take some bases.  Again Haniger is an emerging story that needs to be looked at in fantasy baseball this drafting season and so let's see where this takes us.


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