PHOENIXOutfielder Mitch Haniger went into last offseason in search of an answer: Why was it hitters not as big or strong as him were able to drive the ball with more authority to the opposite field?
That question, Haniger said, led him to make a series of swing changes, and those changes have helped get him called up to the majors.
Haniger, 25, has posted monster numbers between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno, hitting a combined .325/.423/.588 through 119 games. He was called up on Tuesday.
It is quite the jump from last year, when Haniger was slugging .379 in a part-time role at Mobile and was demoted to high Class A Visalia for more playing time.
While there, he implemented a leg kick and finished with impressive numbers, hitting .332/.381/.619 in 202 at-bats. Then in the offseason he made changes to his load and swing path, adopting similar techniques used by Josh Donaldson, A.J. Pollock and others.
The result, Haniger said, is a better ability to hit the ball to all fields and enhanced pitch recognition.
“I can make up my mind whether to swing or not later than I have in the past because my swing is deeper in the zone,” said Haniger, a Brewers supplemental first-round pick from Cal Poly in 2012. “It’s easier for me to use all fields and to see pitches better.”
Before the official callup, Haniger acknowledged getting to the big leagues this year crossed his mind, but said he tried not to think about it.
“I try to ignore it and focus on what I can control,” he said. “At the end of the day, all I can do is play hard, play well and try to help make their decision.”
Short-season Hillsboro outfielder Anfernee Grier, the club’s top pick in June, is expected to miss the rest of the year with a shoulder injury but may play in instructional league.