Joining a new team is never easy, and that’s especially true when you are the linchpin in a blockbuster trade. But despite coming in with lofty expectations, Mitch Haniger has managed to meet or exceed them all and may be the leading candidate to start in right field for the Mariners on Opening Day.

Video: Rookie connects for massive 1st HR in Mariners uniform

Haniger has excelled at the plate throughout spring training, producing a .404/.462/.702 slash-line in 47 at-bats, which is second most on the team. The righty has also added two home runs, eight RBIs and a pair of stolen bases, as well as some solid defense. Haniger’s all-around tools showed earlier this month, when the 26-year-old made a running catch in right field, stole a base and came a home run away from the Cycle before being pulled from the game.

Haniger told “Danny, Dave and Moore” on Thursday that he’s been pleased with his play so far.

“I just try to focus on all the small stuff and don’t really worry about any of the end result or the big picture, and just keep my head down and keep working hard,” he said.

Haniger is not the only outfielder stinging the ball this spring. Fellow 26-year-old Guillermo Heredia is batting .415, with a .468 on-base percentage, while veteran left-handed speedster Jarrod Dyson has posted a .343/.415/.900 slash-line, plus five stolen bases. Despite Dyson and Heredia’s numbers and strong defense, neither offers the power potential of the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Haniger.

And that potential is shining through.

When 710 ESPN Seattle’s Shannon Drayer asked Scott Servais on Feb. 23 who stood out most in Mariners camp, the manager responded without hesitation: “Mitch Haniger. Very very professional approach. He has a plan. Every time he is in the outfield, he is on the bases, …read more

Source:: – Sports

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