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June 5, 2012

Outfielder Mitch Haniger Second-Highest Draft Pick in Mustang History

MUSTANG PLAYERS DRAFTED (pdf)
STORY FROM THE TRIBUNE
CAL POLY NOTES | BIG WEST NOTES
MUSTANGS IN THE PROS (pdf)
MUSTANG BASEBALL TEAM AWARDS
2012 CAL POLY BASEBALL SEASON WRAP-UP
HANIGER NAMED BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly junior center fielder Mitch Haniger is the second-highest Mustang ever drafted by Major League Baseball.

Haniger was the 38th overall pick in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Monday, chosen in the Compensation A round by the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers received the draft choice as compensation for the Detroit Tigers signing Prince Fielder.

Catcher John Orton was drafted in the first round (25th overall) by the California Angels in 1987 while left-handed pitcher Garrett Olson was a compensatory round choice (48th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles in 2005.

Orton played when Cal Poly was in Division II, making Haniger the highest-drafted Division I player in Mustang baseball history.

Only the first and compensation A rounds were held Monday. Rounds 2-15 will be held Tuesday with the final 25 rounds slated for Wednesday.

Another Mustang center fielder, Logan Schafer, was a third-round pick of the Brewers in 2008 and was a September call-up in 2011. Schafer is playing for Nashville in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League this spring.

Last week, Haniger became Cal Poly's first baseball All-American in five years -- placed on the Louisville Slugger second team by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and on the third team by College Sports Madness -- and the Archbishop Mitty High School graduate also became the third Mustang to earn Big West Conference Player of the Year honors, following catcher Kyle Blumenthal in 2005 and outfielder Grant Desme in 2007.

Haniger, who is projected to be a corner outfielder, was the runaway Big West Conference leader in home runs (13), RBI (64), slugging percentage (.626), total bases (132) and sacrifice flies (7).

"It's awesome; a great feeling," Haniger told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of his selection by the Brewers. "Words can't describe it.

"I think I profile well in both spots (center and right). I'm excited to see where the Brewers want me to play. We'll see. I can play both. I'm happy to make a position change if necessary. I'm really confident in my arm strength."

Bruce Seid, Brewers amateur scouting director, also told the Journal Sentinel, "I don't want to put emphasis by saying this is going to be a 40-home run guy but I will say Mitch Haniger is a pretty damn good baseball player. He can hit; has power; has a chance to play center field. He's a smart, heady baseball player.

"Defensively, his arm can stop the running game and he likes to stop the running game."

Haniger (6-2, 215, Santa Clara,CA) hit .346 with 18 doubles and a triple while stealing six of 12 bases. When the regular season concluded May 27, Haniger was 11th in the nation in RBI, 13th in RBI per game (1.14), 30th in slugging percentage, 42nd in total bases, 32nd in home runs, 44th in home runs per game (0.23) and 21st in sacrifice flies.

"Haniger had one of those monster years where he had a wide margin over anyone else in the Big West when it came to the  power numbers," said Lee.

Here is what a scouting report on MLB.com had to say about Haniger:

"In a year that is not known for college bats, Haniger's ability to hit with power has many teams intrigued with the Cal Poly outfielder. Strong and muscular, Haniger hits from a wide, open stance with plus bat speed and a slight uppercut that allows him to drive the ball to all fields when he makes contact.

"He's been doing that more consistently this year, showing improved plate discipline to improve his overall offensive game. There's enough loft and strength where he could hit 25 homers annually at the next level. Not a burner, Haniger is a heady baserunner who picks his spots to run.

"While he plays center field for Cal Poly, he'll be better suited for right. He has a plus arm and his power certainly profiles well for what teams look for in the position. There's going to be some swing and miss to his game, but the power, his arm and his aggressive style of play give him the chance to be an everyday Major League right fielder in the future."

In three years with the Mustangs, Haniger is fourth all-time with 26 career home runs, tied for No. 3 with 47 career doubles and tied for No. 5 with 137 career RBI. Haniger is expected to be selected in the first three rounds of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on June 4.

Haniger had a 10-game hitting streak snapped by Long Beach State on March 30, going 16-for-36 (444) during the streak to lift his average 64 points. He threw out nine runners from center field this season, where he started all 56 games.

Haniger produced 22 multiple-hit games, including a five-hit contest vs. Cal State Northridge and seven three-hit games. He hit two homers in the Metrodome and went 8-for-13 in the Cal State Northridge series and 8-for-18 in the Loyola Marymount series with nine RBI and five runs scored, earning Big West Field Player of the Week honors both times.

Haniger hit .274 as sophomore with 14 doubles, two triples and six home runs. He collected 27 RBI, four stolen bases, 11 multiple-hit games and a quartet of multiple-RBI contests, hitting safely in 25 of his last 30 games, going 35-for-111 (.315).

As a true freshman in 2010, Haniger hit in 14 consecutive games and hit .326 with 15 doubles, one triple and seven home runs, including a grand slam against Pacific, and drove in 46 RBIs. He had 17 multiple-hit games, including a 5-for-6 contest in the season finale against CSU Bakersfield, and 14 multiple-RBI contests, including back-to-back three-RBI games against UCLA.

Haniger was named Big West Freshman Player of the Year in 2010. He is a 2009 graduate of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, where he hit .364 as a senior with a school-record 12 home runs and 25 RBI.

Haniger, drafted in the 31st round by the New York Mets following his senior year in high school (2009), has a brother, Jason, who was a four-year catcher at Georgia Tech and drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 19th round in 2008.

Last summer, Haniger played with the Green Bay Bullfrogs in the Northwoods League, hitting .277 with seven doubles, five home runs and 22 RBI. He was named the No. 3 Major League prospect out of the Northwoods League by Baseball America.

Cal Poly finished the 2012 season 36-20 overall, winning its last seven games and 14 of 17. For the second time in their 16 years as a member of the Big West, the Mustangs finished second with a 16-8 mark, one game behind champion Cal State Fullerton.