Top Prospect Update: #6- Mitch Haniger
By John Dinse
Feb 27, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers center fielderMitch Haniger
(75) runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Oakland Athletics during the ninth inning at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The Brewers won 11-3. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Our series continues, although a couple of days late this week, with a look at Reviewing the Brew’s sixth ranked prospect outfielder Mitch Haniger.
Haniger was the Brewers first round pick (38th overall) in the 2012 draft out of Cal Poly. His professional career did not start off as fast as most anticipated in 2012, especially considering his collegiate experience and success. However 2013 saw Haniger excel at Low A Wisconsin, earn a promotion to High A Brevard County and finished with a successful Arizona Fall League.
While Haniger was seen as a prospect within the system, his profile was enhanced in spring training this year. Appearing in 10 games as a non-roster invitee, Haniger hit .500 with two home runs and seven runs batted in. This performance earned Haniger a spot on the Double A Huntsville Stars opening day roster.
Thus far in 2014 Haniger is batting .258 with 10 home runs and 34 runs batted in. While his walk numbers are down (19) he also has struck out at a lower rate. Haniger’s numbers are not eye-opening but he has battled injuries in 2014, missing time with a wrist injury.
While primarily a right fielder, Haniger has seen some time in center as well this season and throughout his career. Defensively Haniger is more than adequate, in fact Baseball America ranked him as having the Best Outfield Arm in the system entering 2014.
Overall, Haniger is a solid yet unspectacular prospect similar to Logan Schafer at this stage in his career. However, Haniger has thee upside and skill set to eclipse Schafer as a professional. Haniger is a patient hitter with some power but he will need to hit for a higher average to stick as a regular at the major league level. While I think his “floor” is fourth outfielder, defensive replacement and bat bench his ceiling is probably no higher than a Jon Jay, Seth Smith or Gerardo Parra type player.