Draft : : Top Prospects
Monday, May 21, 2012

Draft Focus: Mitch Haniger

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Cal Poly
Every weekday leading up to the 2012 MLB Draft, Perfect Game will be providing a scouting profile on a notable draft-eligible prospect.  Stay tuned to Perfect Game and be sure to visit the Draft Page for all of the latest info and reports pertaining to the draft.

Mitch Haniger Perfect Game profile

Position:  OF
Height:  6-2
Weight: 215
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate:  December 23, 1990
College:  Cal Poly
Hometown:  Santa Clara, Calif.
Previously Drafted:  Mets '09 (31)

Projected Draft Round:  1S, 2

An athletic talent in a pro-like 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame, Haniger is a complete package, capable of showcasing all five tools—particularly power and arm strength.

Even as he hit just .275-6-27 as a sophomore for Cal Poly, it was evident that Haniger had the natural ability to be a productive offensive player, and he has responded this season by batting .342-12-58, topping the Mustangs in homers and RBIs. He makes consistent, hard contact and his raw power has started to evolve into a legitimate weapon, though is still mostly to the gaps.

Haniger spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Cal Poly primarily in right field, but was shifted to center this season. He has playable-enough speed to play in center in college, but will likely return to right field at the pro level, where his strong, accurate arm is well-suited.

Projected as a third- to fourth talent at the outset of the 2012 season, Haniger has only elevated his draft worth through the course of the spring by becoming more of a factor at the plate, particularly in refining his set-up and staying more balanced throughout his swing path. He has also become more selective in his approach, walking a team-high 34 times vs. 32 strikeouts, and done a better job of both handling and even laying off off-speed stuff that used to tie him up in the past.

With his improved, more-selective approach, it has enabled Haniger to make better use of his raw power potential, and he was especially hot in the month of April, when scouts began to see him in a different light and soon upgraded his draft worth to a supplemental first-round consideration in June.

Haniger and his family have been down this path before as Mitch was a 31st-round pick of the New York Mets out of a Santa Clara, Calif., high school in 2009, while his older brother Jason, a four-year catcher at Georgia Tech, was drafted in the 19th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008, though didn’t sign at the time and was passed over a year later in the same draft where his younger brother was selected.
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