no, that's NOT a "halo'ed" Renaissance painting


They say Jim Morrison didn't like to sing "Light My Fire," primarily because he didn't think of it.  His keyboard player did.  Similarly, it is with heavy heart that Dr. D signs off on Mitch Haniger as ROY candidate.  In my demurral to Matt's Best Bet, I've got to acknowledge that his side of the proposition was ... um ... perhaps ... not as false ... as I might wish it would be.

WHEW glad I got that off my chest


Haniger is slugging .806, but his OBP is only .500, so don't get too excited.  ... my earlier complaint about SABRMatt's best bet was merely that we hadn't seen him play.  Well, that's finished.  We've seen him play.  SOLID!  So Haniger looks like a Best Bet from here too.  :: fistbump Matt ::

You know how slimy Dr. D is; he likes to Best Bet the prospects who are mortal locks and who nobody else buys in to.  That hardly describes Mitch Haniger, who is beloved by all.  So I don't have the grounds to stand on, but it is heretofore a SABRMatt/Dr D Best Bet.  More Matt's place to do so if he's so inclined.

But, yeah, I don't see how Haniger can fail.  Not sure when we last saw an org #8 prospect who was more likely to --- > WAR 2-4 as a rookie.  Even if the dude has bumps at the plate he's still going to give you a Jason Heyward Lite type of game.  And I really doubt he's going to have any problems in the bat department.


Seeing him play:  what's to like?  Everything.  His pitch recognition looks above average.  He's got excellent hand-eye coordination, good HIT ability.  There's no particular pitch he can't get the bat to, that we've noticed.  Beautiful aiki swing, all kinds of COILED power.  And he's quick.  He lets the ball travel and hits it the other way.  PWR is a given.  He's going to take extra bases.  They rave about his Edgar-like preparation.  It's just too good to be true!  Why would Arizona cough him up?


Well, hold it, maybe that's not quite right, maybe he's not quite THAT unheralded.  'cause the M's website has promoted Haniger to #4 at this point.  Still, nice to know we got three kids better than Mitch Haniger.

John Sickels has Haniger #7 in the org.  That's not #7 in baseball; that's #7 within 1/30 of the baseball prospect pie.  In addition to Lewis and O'Neill, the M's site and Sickels both have Nick Neidert at #3.  Sickels has three other guys as better bets than Haniger:

4 Vogelbach - feasible

5 Povse - dubious

6 Whalen - ??

Both sources have Andrew Moore coming in right after Haniger.  But the point is, no way in the world I trade you Mitch Haniger for Tyler O'Neill or Kyle Lewis, who are in the MLB top 50.  Top prospect for Haniger?  I will guarantee you, no sale.

Two questions for SSI Denizens:

(Q1) Is this really a poor farm system?  In 2022, these 10 guys are going to have below-average ML careers compared to some random org's current top 10?

(Q2) How many WAR does an American League Rookie of the Year usually get?  Anybody know?  Great, great shot at that kinda season, though.

Be Afraid,




On the grounds that, each time you mention Haniger, you (a) call him Maniger since that is the nickname I invented and I'd like it to take off and (b) never say anything bad about him. :)  (I kid on the second part...I just love him...saw a couple of the early spring games and watched him hit...he looked a lot like ROY to me.

Taro's picture

LOL @ I'll allow it.

Agreed all around. Haniger is in essence our #1 prospect. Has been since the day traded for him.

How many prospects are a near 'gaurantee' to be above-average players in the upcoming season? Very few.

And Haniger has considerable upside beyond that.


That's a little like calling Edgar a "Man-i-grrr" when there's nothing macho about him.  But I guess I could see it in the "man-child" LeBron sense, that Maniger's game is so complete he's a man among Mariners prospects...


Real men just friggin' WIN.  At life, at sports, in their marriages, at work...they win.  Maniger is going to win.  His name applies


And a 'throw in"* to boot!

I really like him.  The last 6 positional players to win the AL RoY were (in reverse order) Correa, Abreau, Myers, Trout, Longoria, Pedroia:  Their WAR #'s were 4.1, 5.5, 1.9, 10.8, 4.8, 3.9.

Myers was a 1B and got a defensive hit and Trout isn't really quite baseball mortal, so if we discount those two, then you figure Haniger needs about 4.0 WAR to be on the RoY shorty list.  Give him 1-2 for his glove and then you can figure he needs 3 WAR, or so, with his bat. A quick perusal indicates that 3.0 usually falls in the .780-.790 OPS range.  That seems to be in the 110 OPS+ neighborhood.

There you go.  I've said repeatedly that, considering his glovey chops, at 100 OPS he's a fine MLB'er and at 110 he's a really good one.  At least in recent RoY voting, that seems to be the case.

Matt likes Maniger with a 110 floor, I like the 100 number.  I have no problem deferring to Matty and, now it seems, Doc, on this one.

Will say, as I've said before, I like him a lot more in CF.  But now the M's have gone all mariachi band on Martin and he's gone all tattoo on the M's, so there is no way we're trading him.  We've said our vows and I shall forever hold my peace.

For T. Walker (Texas Ranger), we walked away from the table with two very glovey and durable positional players, both with upside bats.  

Hiway robbery.

As to our Top 10 list:  Moore and Povse are BoR MLB starters right now.  That's their floor.  I like Moore's upside way more, no pun intended.  In terms of WAR, Haniger is a better bet than Vogs, because he starts with a 3WAR defensive lead.  Vogs needs a WAY better bat than Haniger to make up the staggered start.  I'm not sure I don't like his bat upside over Haniger's.  Vogs just might be a .310-.390 type of guy.  

All in all.  I like 'em all.

*---not really a "throw in."  I think Jerry D. deeked them.


I see Vogelbach as Lyle Overbay-ish.  in his prime that was an .850 OPS or so and when not going well, a .750 OPS.  built on a ton of walks and doubles.

I see Maniger as healthy Michael Saunders, now with 50% fewer Ks.  That's .800 without even trying (.260/.360/.440) with something more like prime Shin-Soo Choo batting upside (>.400 OBP with solid pop)


That's a pretty inspired comp ... from a saber point of view.  And the age-arc isn't a bad pair either.

Quibbling about it from a scouting standpoint, Dr. D has to shudder a little bit :- ) 'cause the soundness of their games, and their physical movements, are at the opposite end of the spectrum.  I associate the Condor with talent, garbage swings, total confusion, and leaving his feet to smoke a ball 3 feet foul down the line.  So it's kind of like comp'ing Edgar to Manny Ramirez.  :- )  Can we at least avoid the visual?

But the point is well taken, the slash line and the defense and all.  Interesting player pair.


...that's why we generally say that Maniger is the Michael Saunders that figured everything out, doesn't strike out that much, and doesn't hurt himself. :)

But I see your point. :)


And as you say, that's hardly 'damning with faint praise" to picture a 100 or 110 OPS+.  You're allowing the likelihood of a very good rookie.  But we need SOME body to hold down the other side of the argument at least a little bit.  Keep it comin'.

Thanks for the WAR numbers amigo.  ... I see here that Myers got his ROY based on only 88 games hitting .300/.350/.475, not that much defense.

Anybody know what is expected from the top rookies in 2017?  Probably should Bing it...


From Sickels's list:

Kyle Lewis - small school bat who blew out his ACL. I looooooove this guy, but his two knocks are perceived level of competition and health.  He's also at least 3 years away IMO.

Tyler O'Neill - with him it's all pitch recognition. Is he more Nelson Cruz or Carlos Peguero?  It took Cruz a few years and some PEDs to put it together.  Bodybuilding frames always carry some concern in baseball (think: Ruben Sierra destroying the middle part of his career because he lifted too much and lost flexibility).  Still a big fan of Tank, too.

Nick Neidert - I like his arm, but he's started all 30 games he's pitched in across 2 seasons and still only has 126 IP.  The Ms are using him in an abnormal way, which breeds concern as to why.  He's young and has some growing to do, but he's several years away at best, barring some kind of Diaz-ing to the pen.

Dan Vogelbach - bad body, has hitting talent, hasn't taken full advantage. Billy Butler or Jack Cust? I come down on the Butler side, but both Cust AND Butler were done when the age clock chimed after 31. Shouldn't matter to Seattle since they have Vogue young. Being able to play 1B is more pressing, because a bad 1B ruins your infield defense from a catching-bad-throws perspective too.

Max Povse - couldn't make the top half-dozen arms for another org, is #2 for Seattle. Really a fan of his motion and stuff, but doesn't profile as a front-line pitcher.  Seattle doesn't have anyone who necessarily does. Aimed at the MOR, which is fine for now.

Rob Whalen - too high, IMO, but a BOR possibility.  More would require him to Moyer his way to success.  We'll see how his stuff holds up to extended MLB exposure, but somewhat-wild soft-tossers with high Ks are usually begging hitters to make mistakes and chase.  Maybe he can be effectively wild.

Mitch Haniger - love him. RH Saunders with his head on straight (because he wasn't trying to make his swing adjustments in the majors). Putting him with Gar should help keep swing constancy too. Fingers crossed, but I expect this to pay off big.

Andrew Moore - Another MOR arm that I expect pretty good things from.  He's been an underdog his whole pitching life, so this is nothing new for him. The right roll of the dice gets us RH Mark Buehrle, which I would certainly take.

Well all of that looks good, right?  The problem is that everything after that is scrap.  A couple of relief arms will work out, maybe a teenage bat comes through in 2022, but I doubt it.  Denver has no real expected (or even potential) TOR arm left on the farm at any level, and they have no MOTO-hitter types outside of what's on this list.  It's all crappy shortstops, prayers in CF, and some non-positional guys like Joe Rizzo, DJ Peterson and Joe DeCarlo. If one out of 3 blue-chip prospects can make it in the bigs, then Seattle has about 2 major leaguers from the above list and then some fill-in pieces and #6 starters. O'Neill and Haniger will have a couple of years to get it right before Lewis shows up.  After Lewis there is basically nothing.  

If you want to be a top-heavy farm, then you'd like A-level upside.  If you have a bunch of B-level guys then you want a ton of shots at it.  Seattle has MOR arms and #6 hitters, and only a couple of each.  That makes them very skinny.  If they all pay off you look great, but at that point it's about player development, which Seattle has been terrible at for decades. You know how I am - I love the #19 prospect most years and see a lot of upside.  This is not that farm (although that is Joe Rizzo this year, and I'm a fan of his).

Drafts are for replenishing the depth of a system, but we have none so that may take a while. DiPoto is rightly front-loading the talent because if Seattle can't get it done in the next 2-3 years then it's gonna be a fallow time.  Felix is in decline, Cruz will be gone, and Cano's mammoth contract will be saddling this team with the price of reaching for the stars to try to get Felix into a World Series. 

The time is now.  But DiPoto is going to have to heist some other clubs to get some of the pieces he needs in 2019, 2020.  If he can't manage to hit on all of these Haniger / O'Neill / Moore types, the reinforcements behind them look slim and none.

In the meantime, Seattle is attempting the All-Glove OF 3.0.  It worked with Cammy / Ichiro / Winn because they could also hit.  It did not work with Saunders / Guti / Ichiro because they hit like mostly CFs while the infield fell on its collective face.  Because Seattle has a 2B and a 3B who are MOTO hitters, maybe they can get away with it until the corner production comes to the fore.

But Seattle is not betting on the Farm Collective to make this happen long-term.  It's placed very specific bets, without a lot of outs if those bets don't pay off.  If you want to chase a Jack-High Flush, be prepared to bust to a guy holding some 8s and 10s, and certainly to the guy with a pair of Aces.  The Farm isn't gonna pick DiPoto up with a lot of surprise showings, IMO.  It'll be somebody in the top-8, or nothing we have yet.

Unless you like pen arms.  We should keep having those.  Hey there Dan Altavilla!


That upper depth plus success' leads to trading excess for more lower to mid level depth.  Planning on it is of course a bad idea but I can hope for it.  

Is regression to the mean of prospect success rate a thing?  If so I think we're due some.


Ahem...just kidding.

I have had the same questions about Maniger's lack of ranking.  At this point there are multiple articles around the Web that say maybe Man19 was the big piece.  Many of them that write articles are seeing his worth.  Sullivan made the assertion back in November. 

Segura only has 2 years locked in as opposed to the 5 and 6 for Walker and Marte.  There's pretty strong indications that this could be where he wants to be after that, but you don't trade for indications.  

The Man in RF was drafted 5 spots higher than Taijuan, 2 years later so it's not like he was completely unheralded. 

I think it's possible that in 2 or 3 years I like Jackson better than I do Maniger now.  That's a maybe, in some years.  Other than that I have no question of young Alex's spot.  Not even sure Jackson's faster, they're both getting 50 grades everywhere I'm looking.

One thing's for sure.  He keeps up the .300/.500/.800 he'll be in for RoY and MVP.  Another thing; Only Fred Lynn had claimed both simultaneously before Ichiro did.  He looks to me like he could do it, that's the scary thing. 


That's exciting Wish.  You see Haniger's upside as being?

Trout has a lock on the actual award but I know what you mean.  ... I'd like to see what Haniger's 2016 Major League Equivalency was; Baseball Prospectus gives a .360 TAvg (like Runs Created on a batting average scale, I think), which would have led the American League.


I'm a baseballHQ member...the site is super-clunky to navigate, but each year they post the MLEs from the prior year.

Haniger's line in 2016 (in MLE terms)

Batter Bats Age Pos Lev Tm AB  HR  RBI  BB  SB  CS  BA  OB  Slg  OPS  bb%  ct%  Eye  PX  SX  RC/G  BPV 
Haniger,Mitch R 26 CF A/A ARI 458 59 125 30 5 19 70 51 117 9 5 0.273 0.345 0.484 0.829 10% 74% 0.43 133 97 4.73 55

well isn't THAT interesting....

It's almost as though I had a basis for projecting Haniger would OPS .830...............

Biiiiiiig SMILES everyone. :)


Dan Vogelbach: .246/.349/.411 - Doc may be right about him

Chris Taylor: .268/.323/.386 - we traded this guy to the Dodgers for Zach Lee...ouchies.

Tyler Smith (because we liked this guys better...YOWCH): .220/.249/.291

Guillermo Heredia: .258/.338/.331 (ZERO power last year...if he got in touch with Nelson Cruz's "trainer" and actually can hit with power now...this looks a lot better

Ben Gamel: .286/.341/.390 (tasty)

D.J Peterson: .226/.274/.383 (blargh)

Mike Zunino: .236/.300/.414 (sounds about right)

They only do AAA so I can't get a read on O'Neil yet.


Maybe you want to do a 'guest post' based on them.  

Re Vogelbach ... watching the kid's wrist torque since our discussion, I think Doc may be right about him if Doc sees a .370 OBP with 20+ homers pro-rated ...  MLE's are very nice to have but of course not the end of the discussion.  Vogelbach may only have to play 1B for a year or two until he takes Boomstick's spot at DH, may wind up as a top DH.

Gamel's performance HAS been looking tasty.  Like we sez, if the guy can really hit .300 ish in the bigs, with his all around game, he's going to force his way through.


I agree with your general assessment of our farm system (it's pretty thin and lacking in big upside other than Maniger and Lewis)

You say, however, that the Mariners have been bad at player development for decades...which is absolutely true and is now absolutely irrelevant.  This is a very different development system under Dipoto.  He already had a ton of success maxing out marginal prospects in LA, and his efforts are having a large positive impact on the results in the minors for the Mariners.

Also, I would say that Dipoto did the right thing trading a lot of low-level guys for guys who are closer...for two reasons. 1) We are in win-now mode and 2) if we're so terrible at player development before he arrives, he should absolutely consider our guys "damaged goods" and try to get as many "pretty much developed" players into the system as he can, and start fresh with new blood through the drafts.


The Angels farm rankings bottomed out at #30 in 2016 (Keith Law division) a few months after DiPoto resigned right?  They crawled up a few spots this year. It's basically what a Gillick-led farm would look like once he took flight for greener pastures. Again, I'm not against that necessarily.  Like you said, he might rightly view a lot of his inherited prospects as damaged goods and the farm was in disarray before DiPoto got here.  But the Angels didn't add a lot of John Oleruds to in the last couple of years to offset that farm disaster. 

Him spinning off what he can for players now is the best approach for a team trying to maximize a 36-month competitive window. He kept the couple of top prospects he seems to believe in and burned the rest to the ground.  It's fair. What good is a 2024 starter to DiPoto? He'll either be lionized or fired by then. I wouldn't call it good stewardship, but he doesn't get points for handing some nice goods to the next guy.

And again, it could absolutely work out if Lewis, O'Neill and Moore all come up Triple-7 (to say nothing of his trade additions Haniger and Povse). He might want to draft a non-bullpen arm this draft, though.  Kinda forgot about that in the last one.  He's been insanely focused on getting a guy who can fill a position instead of a player with upside in his time with the Ms. I get that in the upper levels - he's trying to complete a very specific puzzle - but especially through the draft he's going to need to look for more upside.  Guys who top out at decent-glove 75 OPS+ SS are not helpful long-term.



...but that was after several scrubs who didn't have much fanfare came up under his stewardship and graduated off the minor league board to become decent big leaguers, and, of course, after he traded some prospects for win-now guys. :)

Yeah...he's the guy you complete the puzzle with, not the guy you build the sustainable base with, I think.


Just to give it a front-page visibility for people who land here.  Continued comments could go either in that thread or this one.  Gracias amigos.


With a brother who cares nothing for baseball lastnight.  Good fun. 

I do kind of get their gripe to start, not that it's that big of a deal.  Why Felix striking out lowly Athletics is meaningful right now I don't get.   Kicking them while they're down?  How about Astros or Rangers?  Even Angels are more meaningful but I guess that would best be a Paxton commercial. 

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