Dominic Canzone Is Set for a Breakout Year With the Mariners

Dominic Canzone was arguably the best hitter in the minor leagues last season. This year, he's ready to take the majors by storm.

Dominic Canzone of the Seattle Mariners greets teammates on the field prior to the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park.
SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 28: Dominic Canzone #8 of the Seattle Mariners greets teammates on the field prior to the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on Thursday, March 28, 2024 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Joe Nicholson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners lineup has been bolstered. Very much so.

After inking Mitch Garver to a two-year deal, trading for All-Star second baseman Jorge Polanco, bringing back Mitch Haniger, and acquiring Luke Raley, the M’s have lengthened their lineup with impact bats.

Yet, it can get even better.

When discussing breakout candidates in the Pacific Northwest, the whispers around T-Mobile Park (or Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona) seem to murmur out a similar name again and again. That name belongs to a 26-year-old lefty who was arguably the best hitter in all of Minor League Baseball last season. That name is Dominic Canzone.

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Canzone Has Never Had an Issue Hitting

After hitting .354 with a 1.065 OPS for the Reno Aces (the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate) in 2023, Canzone was dealt to Seattle in a package for Paul Sewald at the trade deadline. He then showed flashes of imposing power with the Mariners that he’s hoping to maintain over a full season in 2024.

Canzone has never had an issue hitting. He crushed the baseball throughout his three years at Ohio State (OPS of .848, .843 and 1.064, respectively), and posted a total OPS of .850 or better in each of his minor league seasons.

Once he reached the show, Canzone barreled up the ball at a quality rate and struck out less than 20% of the time in his first 59 big league contests.

However, in the end, Canzone put up just a .657 OPS in his first major league stint, proving that there is still work to be done.

A Phenomenal Spring

Canzone turned some heads very early this spring and continued making his mark throughout the Cactus League season.

He got down to Arizona early to begin training with new offensive coordinator Brant Brown and the rest of Seattle’s hitting staff. Most notably, he worked to take the crouch out of his stance. Doing so has allowed him more time to recognize pitches out of the hand. 

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Take a look at the difference between these two stances:

All that work led to Canzone having a phenomenal spring. He hit .295 with a 1.047 OPS in 44 at-bats, crushing nine extra-base hits. Four of those left the ballpark.

Throughout the Cactus League season, Canzone looked poised and very much unfazed by everything that came his way. Spring training stats must be taken with a grain of salt, but there was plenty of excitement around the Mariners left fielder – and for good reason.

Dominic Canzone and Mitch Haniger

Canzone has always had power potential in his bat, and after adding muscle this winter, he has provided even more reason to believe in that potential. He is a player who, if all goes right, could deposit 25 home runs this season.

In fact, many have compared Canzone, in terms of both his profile and trajectory, to a player who is now one of his teammates: Mitch Haniger.

After tearing up the minors for a couple of years as a slept-on prospect, Haniger played 34 games with the Diamondbacks when he debuted in 2016.

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He slashed .229/.309/.404/.713 before getting traded to Seattle that winter. He then posted an .843 OPS, 129 wRC+ and 2.3 fWAR across 96 games with the Mariners in his age-26 season (he missed time that year due to injury).

Canzone’s 59 games gave him a bit more time in the show than Haniger saw when he debuted, but like Haniger, he now enters his age-26 season after coming over from Arizona at the trade deadline the previous year.

As was the case with Haniger, Canzone was an undervalued prospect with power who now has his feet under him. He will be given a real opportunity to get a lot of playing time.

Next Steps for Canzone

One of the big questions for Canzone is how often the Mariners allow him to face lefties.

There is not enough of a sample size yet to say that he cannot succeed against same-handed pitching, but he is currently slated to be part of a platoon with Haniger. Scott Servais may opt not to leave him exposed against southpaws and let him focus strictly on right-handed pitching first.

Canzone will also need to draw a few more walks as his time in the big leagues rolls on. He has proven to be more than capable of solid plate discipline and working counts, walking above 10% of the time for three straight years in the minors. However, he drew free passes just over 4% of the time in the majors last year.

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The fact that Canzone seldom strikes out is a great start, but adding in a steadier diet of bases on balls as time progresses will help his on-base percentage climb to complement his power.

A 2024 Breakout Candidate

So, the profile, the age, and the minor league track record fit the mold for Canzone to break out in his first full big league season. If he does, it will be a massive boost to a Mariners offense that already looks much deeper and more balanced than it did a year ago – at least on paper.

When you look up at the scoreboard in late September, don’t be shocked to see 20-plus home runs next to Canzone’s name.