Immediate Expectations For Ackley
My newest post is up at Brock and Salk’s blog, and it deals with how quickly we can expect Dustin Ackley to become a good Major League hitter. I’ll be on the air with the 710 ESPN guys at 9:30 am to talk about Ackley and the M’s.
Here are the first few paragraphs of the new piece – you can read the rest at their blog.
You’ve probably heard that Dustin Ackley is on fire down in Tacoma. After a tough April, Ackley is hitting .377/.482/.638 in May, and an even more impressive .463/.540/.707 in his last 10 games. He’s dominating Pacific Coast League pitchers, and it won’t be long before the Mariners give him a chance to show what he can do in the big leagues.
Given all the busted prospects the M’s have had over the last few years and the continuing struggles of most of the young hitters on the roster right now, I wouldn’t blame you for exercising a little skepticism about what Ackley might be able to do over the rest of the season. A lot of players tear up the minors only to face a reality check once they get to the big leagues, and gaudy numbers in Triple-A do not always translate to immediate success.
However, there are reasons to believe that Ackley may not experience the same growing pains the Mariners have had to endure with the likes of Michael Saunders, Jeff Clement, and Wladimir Balentien. Unlike the other three, Ackley succeeds using high level hand-eye coordination that makes up for a lack of big time power. While he has six home runs for the Rainiers already, he’s never going to be much of a slugger, and his value at the plate will come by racking up singles, doubles, and walks.
Over the last 20 years, players with this kind of high walk, low strikeout approaches have often made seamless transition to the Major Leagues. In 164 at-bats for Tacoma, Ackley has drawn 33 walks and struck out just 25 times. Here’s how a few other similar hitters have fared in that category before getting promoted: