MLB Network’s Brian Kenny: Mariners RF Mitch Haniger has been better all-around player than Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper just got $330 million from the Phillies in a hope to push them over the hump to a World Series. But as good as Harper is, if you look at what Mitch Haniger has done since he came to Seattle in 2017, the Mariners right fielder has Philadelphia’s new right fielder beat.
At least that’s what Brian Kenny of the MLB Network said while sitting down with Danny, Dave and Moore at Mariners spring training.
“Haniger actually over the last two years has been a better player,” said Kenny, who was at the Mariners’ spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz., on Tuesday as the MLB Network featured the Mariners on their “30 Clubs in 30 Days” feature.
Harper has the edge over Haniger at the plate, but not by a whole lot. In 253 games over the past two seasons, the 28-year-old Haniger has a slash line of .284/.361/.492 with 42 home runs, 63 doubles, six triples, 140 RBIs and 148 runs scored. The 26-year-old Harper, meanwhile, has a slash line of .279/.401/.539 with 63 home runs, 61 doubles, one triple, 187 RBIs and 198 runs scored in 270 games over the same time period.
But where Haniger has eclipsed Harper is in the field and on the base paths, Kenny said.
“He runs, he throws,” Kenny said of Haniger. “It’s not like, oh, these are hidden things. No man, he’s taking extra bases, he’s laying out and stealing outs left and right; he’s an excellent defensive player. So you can look at Mitch Haniger and say, hey, he’s a six-win player – that’s a star.”
Kenny’s not the only person who thinks Haniger has outperformed Harper in recent years. In January, the MLB Network ranked Haniger the fourth-best right fielder in the game, while Harper was ranked sixth.
Kenny also talked to Danny, Dave and Moore about what impresses him about Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, his thoughts on the team’s rebuild and why he not’s counting out a bounce back from Félix Hernández in 2019. You can listen to the full conversation in the player embedded in this post or download it in podcast form here.
More from Danny, Dave and Moore at M’s spring training: What We Learned