The Milwaukee Brewers weren’t able to keep Prince Fielder in town long-term, so they were awarded a supplemental first round draft pick in 2012 when the Detroit Tigers signed the Prince. The Brewers used that first round pick to select All-American Mitch Haniger out of Cal Poly University.
Haniger is still filling out in his broad 6-foot-2 frame, but the right-hander still has plenty of raw pop in his swing along with a phenomenal throwing arm. He was a tremendous center-fielder in college because of his athleticism and instincts. However, scouts see Haniger as a corner outfielder in the long haul because of his combination of a power bat and throwing arm. He routinely opens eyes when he uncorks a throw from the outfield because of the low trajectory and velocity that has the ball zipping through the cutoff man. He has right-fielder written all over him.
Let’s be honest though, Haniger is going to attract more attention at the plate. He has ridiculous power to the pull side, which at times can be his arch nemesis because he can pull off away pitches. Haniger has shown the ability to make adjustments in his mechanics because he started smashing away pitches into oppo-tacos as last season went on instead of pulling off the ball.
Scouts are impressed with his plate discipline and how he’s more than willing to take a walk. Haniger did tend to struggle against high-velocity fastballs on the inner half, just like many young power hitters. He needs to consistently have a quiet load with his hands to give him a more direct strike on pitch recognition. Like I said, Haniger has shown the ability to make adjustments over the course of a season, or even during an at-bat for that matter, which will allow the Brewers to work on him as he progresses through their system. The ball jumps off his bat already, so when this young man can consistently harness his mechanics and explode through the zone, it’ll be time to break out the tape measure.
Bottom line is some prospects pan out and some do not. Scouts seem pretty confident that Haniger is one that will find himself hitting fifth in a big league lineup and throwing out base runners from right-field.