There has been a lot of talk about Mitch Haniger’s potential as an impact hitter in the Mariners lineup ever since he was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in November. On Tuesday afternoon, he added some convincing evidence to that talk.
Haniger jumped all over a Michael Kopech offering and homered for the first time in a Mariners uniform in the first inning of Seattle’s Cactus League game against the Chicago White Sox, and it was quite the shot. Not only did it plate three runs to really get the ball rolling for a Mariners rout, it traveled over the bullpen and completely out of the ballpark at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.
The right-handed, 26-year-old Haniger is the favorite to win in one of the few competitions the Mariners have in spring training for a starting position, battling with Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia for an opening in right field. Though he has just 34 games of MLB experience, he homered five times with the Diamondbacks last season and has received plenty of praise from both teammates, his manager and even Mariners announcer Rick Rizzs.