While Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger wasn’t the headliner in the November trade that saw him go from Arizona to Seattle, the M’s have high hopes for the 26-year-old, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. A 2012 first-round pick and former Brewers prospect, Haniger hit a below-average .229/.309/.404 in the first 129 plate appearances of his major league career last season, though his video game-like .341/.428/.670 line in 312 Triple-A PAs wowed Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. “By the numbers, (Haniger) was able to show that he was the best offensive player (last year) in the minor leagues at any level,” said Dipoto. “He’s also a right-handed batter, and we acquired him for that reason. Mitch is also the one that brings with him a skill set that includes power, and he’s got on-base ability.” Dipoto expects Haniger to serve as the Mariners’ everyday right fielder this year, which would leave Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia to fight for a reserve role.
More from the American League:
- The Astros haven’t been willing to give up 21-year-old pitching prospect Francis Martes in a deal for White Sox ace Jose Quintana, and it’s no surprise, given the Houston organization’s opinion of Martes. “He’s got as high a ceiling as probably any righty in the major leagues,” Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias told David Laurila of FanGraphs. “He has such a gifted arm, and such a weapon breaking ball, plus the changeup as a third pitch. Something that can be lost sight of is how young he is. He went to Double-A (late in the 2015 season) and held his own. In and of itself, that says something. If you look at the list of guys who have pitched well in Double-A at age 19, it’s a really, really impressive list.” If Martes’ effectiveness continues in 2017, “his road to Houston could be a very fast one,” per Elias.
- Twins reliever Glen Perkins threw only two innings last season – both in early April – before undergoing June surgery to repair a torn labrum. Perkins’ recovery from the procedure “has gone well,” but “there’s no reason to rush” back, he informed Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. With that in mind, Perkins could begin the season on the disabled list. “It’s going to be down to the finish line at the end of spring training whether I’m ready or not,” said the 34-year-old. Long an adept late-game option, the left-handed Perkins amassed no fewer than 32 saves in each season from 2013-15. Brandon Kintzler grabbed the ninth-inning reins last year for the Perkins-less Twins, who are still scouring the open market for relief help.
- Victor Diaz is the least heralded prospect in the four-player package the White Sox received from the Red Sox in exchange for ace Chris Sale last month, but Chicago regards the hard-throwing right-hander as a quality piece. The 22-year-old Diaz is a prospect worth dreaming on and could move quickly toward the majors, according to White Sox senior director of baseball operations Dan Fabian (Twitter link via Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago). Diaz, a reliever capable of hitting triple digits on the radar gun, tossed 60 1/3 innings at the Low-A level last season.