Dustin Ackley, Second Baseman?

Dave · November 20, 2009 at 6:41 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Shannon Drayer ends the boredom with some real news – the Mariners are going to start working Dustin Ackley out at second base. This is something that had been speculated on pre-draft, as his college coach had publicly said that he though Ackley could make the transition, but the Mariners had been adamant that they saw him as an outfielder.

Clearly, something has changed since June. I don’t believe that the team was lying and intended to do this all along. Since getting him signed, they have either seen something in Ackley, or made a decision about the rest of the roster, that made this a more attractive option than it was this summer. The options of things that may have changed:

1. They weren’t impressed with Ackley’s outfield abilities in the AFL. I find this pretty unlikely. The reports I’ve heard on him from down there have been pretty positive, and you never expect a perfect transition to a position that a player doesn’t have much experience at. Toss in the fact that its a small sample from a bunch of games that don’t really mean anything, and I just can’t see the M’s deciding that he couldn’t hack it in the outfield yet.

2. They were so impressed with Ackley’s bat in the AFL that they’ve moved up their timetable for getting him to the majors. This is slightly more plausible than the above option, but still seems like a stretch. His AFL performance is exactly what everyone expected – a bunch of singles, some walks, and some doubles sprinkled in here and there. The M’s had scouted him extensively in college, so it’s hard to imagine that they saw something in his bat that they didn’t see during the spring, and the performance just wasn’t eye-opening. He was as advertised. That’s not impetus for a change.

3. They’re preparing to acquire a long term answer in left field – i.e. Curtis Granderson. This will get spun into that rumor, but I don’t buy it. I can’t see the M’s paying the price it will take to get Granderson when they already had Saunders, who potentially gives you a similar type of player when he develops.

4. They have decided that Michael Saunders has more of a future on this team than Jose Lopez does. This strikes me as the likely scenario. Lopez has long been rumored to be trade bait this winter, even though there aren’t many in-house options to replace him long term. If they trade Lopez, there’s no one keeping Ackley from a major league job when he’s ready. Saunders is younger, cheaper, under team control for significantly longer, left-handed, better defensively, more athletic… there are a ton of reasons why the M’s would rather have Ackley displace Lopez than Saunders. It’s not that hard to imagine that during one of the post-season meetings between the front office and the coaching staff, everyone decided that Saunders was a keeper and Lopez was a goner. That kind of decision would make an Ackley-to-2B shift more viable.

We’ll find out eventually, as the team puts the roster together. But if I was Jose Lopez, I’d be looking at how much it costs to break my lease.


118 Responses to “Dustin Ackley, Second Baseman?”

  1. DMZ on November 24th, 2009 12:23 pm

    If only we had written posts on evaluating chemistry and confidence issues.

    Or if other people had looked at the same issues.

    Oh well. I guess if you haven’t found any of those, you must be right.

  2. Graham on November 24th, 2009 12:40 pm


    you must be right.

    Of course he’s right. HRH Wag played sports.

  3. Wag on November 24th, 2009 12:53 pm

    Really? haha that has nothing to do with anything. I haven’t reference my playing or sports or tried to imply that I knew more for doing so.
    All I am saying is theres a correlation between confidence/chemistry and performance. None of you believe that?

  4. Graham on November 24th, 2009 12:55 pm

    I do not feel that I am capable of having this discussion with Your Reverence as I am now physiologically incapable of disagreeing with someone of your immense stature. Sir.

  5. Wag on November 24th, 2009 1:04 pm

    I have a masters degree in Psychology and am a Lieutenant in the US ARMY. So please don’t assume I’m some moron with a computer.
    I haven’t said anything immature or rude. This started out as a conversation about statistics. My opinion was that people tend to focus too much on stats and don’t pay enough attention to performances. I think that there are other immensurable factors that directly affect a athlete/teams performance.

  6. Wag on November 24th, 2009 1:08 pm

    If you disagree, that’s completely understandable. However, there’s no need to get aggressive or disrespectful. I by no means meant to come across agressive.

  7. Graham on November 24th, 2009 1:10 pm

    I have a masters degree in Psychology and am a Lieutenant in the US ARMY.

    Irrelevant. Sports!

  8. TranquilPsychosis on November 24th, 2009 1:17 pm

    I haven’t reference my playing or sports or tried to imply that I knew more for doing so.

    I believe the idea came from this statement:

    If you think those things DON’T have a huge affect then maybe you should put down the book and play the sport.

    It kind of implies as much.

  9. TranquilPsychosis on November 24th, 2009 1:40 pm

    I’m not a big believer in the WAR statistic. Not to mention the “players worth evaluator” or whatever its called. They don’t encompass everything. There just another random stat. They mean about as much to me as, “in the bottom of the 4th, with a runner on 2nd, he has a .259 AVG against lefties, but with a runner on 1st he hits .301.” They don’t take in every factor, there ARE some aspects of sports that can’t be measured and do have a great affect on performance.

    So Wag, by your own admission, you don’t believe in what we look at on this blog. Why do you keep coming back?

  10. moethedog on November 25th, 2009 8:22 am


    What difference to you does it make if Wag keeps coming back? Or if I keep coming back? Or anybody else?

    Just wondering.

    Wag is right when he insists some things in sport are unquantifiable.

    Griffey may or may not have had an effect on last year’s M’s well beyond his crappy numbers at the plate. Wak and Z certainly seem to think so, but that effect is beyond actual measure.

    For example…Check out Mike Jacobs ’09 #’s for the Royals, they are very similar to Griffey’s. (His WAR is a bit lower). About the same number of PA’s, both hit 19 hr’s, both played almost all of their games at DH. Jacobs BA was a bit better…and if he had a few more singles fall in and another walk or two their OPB would be nearly identical, too. So give Jacobs those singles and another tater or two…Would the M’s have gone out of their way to sign him? Absolutely not. The M’s are convinced that there is an unmeasurable quality to Jr. that makes them a better team.

    I thought Jr. was a stupid signing lasst year….but something changed with the M’s. I’l willing to give him a bit of the credit…and certainly not for being a crappy DH.

    Some things in sports defy accurate measurement.

    However, I think Wag is way wrong when he discounts WAR which I think is of great value and make great sense.

    But that doesn’t mean that Wag is wrong across the board nor does it mean that I should challenge his reasons for hanging around here.

    Just thinking,


  11. DMZ on November 25th, 2009 8:27 am

    Wak and Z certainly seem to think so, but that effect is beyond below actual measure.

    Fixed that for you.

  12. TranquilPsychosis on November 25th, 2009 9:33 am

    What difference to you does it make if Wag keeps coming back? Or if I keep coming back? Or anybody else?

    I simply asked why he keeps coming back if our ideas bother him so much. It’s not that I really give a rip that he’s here. I’m just curious why he continues to beat his head against the wall.

  13. TranquilPsychosis on November 25th, 2009 9:41 am

    Some things in sports defy accurate measurement.

    This is true. If it could be measured, it would be. But since it cannot be measured, how do you quantify it’s value. Simple answer; you can’t.

    That’s what most folks don’t understand. When the folks here and other places blow off chemistry, it’s not because it doesn’t exist. It’s because nobody can prove (with numbers) that is has an effect on the game.

  14. Wag on November 25th, 2009 9:57 am

    I enjoy talking sports, especially my team (the Mariners). I am not saying using WAR to determine a players value is useless by any means. It’s another stat that when used moderately can be very useful. However, a lot of people on this site seem to think that it’s a flawless system that should determine a players full worth. Not to mention they use it to determine wither we should or shouldn’t sign a player. And since this site is mostly a trade rumors/speculation site the two go hand in hand.
    I enjoy reading other people opinions, my only issue is “some” people on here need to remember that stats don’t tell everything. For example, when a team sign’s an aging vet. They have a great affect on a teams development (physically AND mentally). Is that measurable? No.

  15. DMZ on November 25th, 2009 10:09 am

    And since this site is mostly a trade rumors/speculation site the two go hand in hand.

    You have here — as in other topics — absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

  16. Jeff Nye on November 25th, 2009 10:29 am

    How many times do we have to repeat this to you (and others)?

    If you can’t measure something, you can’t say that it has a “great effect”. Stop it.

    You’ve long since passed the point of potential educatability and have moved solidly into pointless conflict-seeking.

  17. joser on November 25th, 2009 10:45 am

    What difference to you does it make if Wag keeps coming back? Or if I keep coming back? Or anybody else?

    Because it adds one more name to the mental list I keep of folks whose posts I skip over because they’ve demonstrated they add nothing to the discussion, and I value my free time. I like coming to USSM to read about new things; I don’t appreciate seeing the same well-refuted arguments resurrected over and over again.

  18. GarForever on November 25th, 2009 12:58 pm

    As a stats geek who’s also played baseball (not professionally, but still) let me say, yes, when guys hustled we appreciated it, mostly because their hustle often resulted in outcomes that also happen to be quantifiable. And our appreciation of those results in helping us win improved everybody’s attitude. When we won, if a guy loafed on a play or missed a sign or hung a slider, we didn’t care. When we lost, another story. In other words, winning led to chemistry, not the other way around.

    But if you don’t believe me, Player X (the anonymous NFL player writing a column for ESPN the Mag) had a recent piece in which he says pretty much the same thing (chemistry is overrated if not mostly imaginary), and it’s something all of us who work for a living intuitively know: if everyone is doing their job and the company is going well, then, hey, going to work’s not so bad. If everyone’s pulling their weight and the company’s circling the drain anyway, not so much fun.

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