1,000 Games. Starting Now.

If you're trying to think of ways to boost Dustin Ackley's cyber-popularity during the M's day off, aside from having him played by Will Smith, we're not sure we can help.  

But if you're looking for a decent read or two, to pass the time on the Longest Day Ever, we suggest the following pairings for your Doppio and almond biscotti:


Jan. 2010 - SLG at UNC ... College stats can be tough to translate, but Tim Lincecum fanned a lot more hitters than did Brandon Morrow - in the same league, against the same hitters.  Though a small man, Timmy was a unique intersection of Ichiro-like leveraging, of freakish physical tools and of freakish saber performance.

The same goes for Ackley.

The SLG at UNC post compares Ackley's ISO to that of Tony Sanchez, a 220-lb. catcher taken #4 in the same draft.  Ackley's ISO -- that is, his power as an issue separate from his contact ability -- was much higher.

(No, we're not trying to deliberately set Taro off again about Trevor Bauer.  Go cry in your 100-point lead over me, champ.)


Nov. 2009 - Large and Small Mammals.  The Minority Report that called for Ackley's conversion to 2B was --- > a sabermetric one.  Scouts tended to doubt Ackley's conversion, but fortunately Capt. Jack came down on the Bill James end of things.

McNamara was on Mazeroski's side coming in -- hey, you can't just switch to 2B like it was no big deal, here -- but cowboy'ed up and got with the program.  Here's an info-taining piece on that.


Jan. 2011 - SPD and Dustin Ackley.  Saber speed score is inferred from triples, runs scored per times on base, etc.  

Ackley's was surprisingly high, and suggested (to us, anyway) that not only would Ackley play a long career at 2B, but that he might also swipe some bases at it.


Aug. 2009 - Dustin Ackley's Swing Mechanics.  Among the signature Ackley mechanics we liked:  his "moving without motion" aiki swing load and his relaxation.  A few thousand more words lurk, if you're a glutton for punishment.

Similar to this, an August 2010 debate, Ackley's Projected OBP, in which Dr. D suffers the vapors and swoons away at Ackley's off-the-charts "wait and weight" capabilities.   Dustin Ackley -- as a Cheney visit confirmed -- takes a gruesomely long look at every pitch, and then when necessary ... SNNNNNICKS it out of the catcher's glove for foul balls or even base hits.

He's a lefty Edgar in that respect.  Edgar would look and look and looooooook ... and then KA-CHING flick those wrists and there was another double down the RF line.


November 2009 - Ackley the College Hitter of the Decade.  Named not by us, but by Rivals.com, which also lists its other candidates.

As we know, the best college hitter of any draft is the default 1-1 pick of that draft.  So what do you say about the best college hitter of ten drafts?

Except for Junior and ARod, Dustin Ackley is the most pedigreed minor leaguer the Mariners have ever called up.


Mar. 2011 - G-Money from Arizona ... Gordon's report this March on Ackley.  Everything wears well with time, of course.


Nov. 2010 - Ackley's Sadism - A game's worth of GameDay's from the AFL.  He finished .465/.608/.807.


Been watching baseball awhile.  Don't remember seeing many guys come into MLB with a brighter future than this kid's.

As a left fielder, Dustin Ackley would have been an excellent 1-1 draft pick.  As a second baseman, he was the pick of a decade.  

This moment brought to you by Jack "outside the box" Zduriencik.



Dr D


ghost's picture

Now let's see...
Let's make what I think is a very reasonable guess that the Mariners get two 100 OPS+ positions out of the Cust/Halman/PegueroCarp set (assuming Cust leaves at some point once Carp proves he can hit a little bit).  And let's say they get at least a 100 OPS+ from Ackley at second.  And let's say that the rest of the way, Ichiro hits for at least a 100 OPS+ (he looks like the Ichiro of old again...even defensively!).  And let's guess that Kennedy gets the same PT share he's been getting, but more of it is at third for Figgins and at first to keep Smoak fresh.  And let's guess that Smoak, with more off time, hits 130 the rest of the year (a conservative estimate IMHO).  That leaves SS (Ryan and his 75 or so), C (Olivo and his 80 or so the rest of the way including second half swoon), CF (Gutierrez and significantly more of Halman forcing the OPS+ to rise from the 50s to the 80s)...
RF) Ichiro! (105)
2B) Ackley (110)
1B) Smoak (130)
DH) Peguero (95)
LF) Carp (115)
C) Olivo (85)
CF) Halman/Guti (80)
3B) Figgins/Kennedy (80)
SS) Ryan (70)
Are we saying that that line-up can't compete with a pitching staff carrying a roughly 115 ERA+?


And as a AAA player he........er....... uhhhhhh......ummmmmmm.........Just why in the wide world of sports is he a AAA player?
I forgot the good reason. 
But back to Doc's point, Ackley was a terrific pick and is going to be a heck of a 6.6 year player for the M's.  I wish they would just treat him like the face of a franchise for the next dozen years.  Not seeing that treatment, right now.

ghost's picture

What else do you want the Ms to do? :)
They're talking him up big time now that he's promoted...they just wanted to be careful with him financially, and given that his agent is Scott Boras...I don't entirely blame them, although I would probably have come north with him in April.

tjm's picture

A couple of Southern California media notes and a comment:
A couple weeks ago an Angeles radio guy talked about Edgar Martinez going down to watch pitchers throw bullpens. He wanted to see the late break he couldn't see from the batter's box. It's what enabled Edgar to "snatch" those balls out of the mitt. Presumably, Ackley has similar knowledge. (And why couldn't everyone do this? How many times have we seen Michael Saunders take an inside fastball that cuts back over for a called thrid strike?)
Mark Guicza, Angeles TV guy and a very good major league pitcher, was beside himself over how many times Bedard last night shook off Olivo. At one point, he was trying to calculate the total number of shake-offs for the game - it was in the hundreds. Apparently, it's not just Jimenez.
Finally, if Russell Branyan can play third base, can't anybody? Why are the M's (or at least the blogosphere) so caught up in the difficulty of people playing different positions? Ralph Houk used to routinely play catchers (Berra, Howard, Blanchard) in left field just to get more bats in the line-up. He even put Berra at third once and routinely played Hector Lopez there. If Peguro/Hallman/Saunders ever hits well enough to be an MLB regular, is there any reason Mike Carp couldn't play third?


After all, according to Churchill he has no possibility of being a superstar. "He's no Pujols" is obvious, since basically only Babe Ruth, Jimmy Foxx or Lou Gehrig ever WERE Pujols, but really, he has no chance to be Jose Reyes either?


The guy likes to remain incognito, which is okay by me, but if we could pay him to post more, we would...
1.  I really hope the answer to that isn't simple laziness, TJM...
2.  Erikkk definitely calls his own game, which is to me just a blast to watch ... my $0.02 is that Erik's shakeoffs of Olivo are friendly, cooperative, and reduced by about 70%...
The Gimenez game, he radiated frustration from first pitch to last...
But yeah...
3.  Am sure you know where we stand on that one...
The classic, 100-year-old solution is to grab the best hitters you can and put them in the corners, and then to make up for it with the best gloves you can in the middle of the field...
Big Red Machine put Geronimo and Concepcion at CF and SS ... When Thome was playing 3B and (gasp) Baerga 2B, the Indians held it all together by playing Omar at SS...
Only in Seattle do we apply the "hold it all together SS" principle to eight different spots on the diamond... and only in Seattle do we score 513 runs, full season, a hundred years after deadball is over...


The first 50 games are a mulligan, as with Pedroia.
But if Dustin Ackley, starting game 51 ;- ) starts raking to the tune of his Cheney May-June (translated), the M's are looking at a card flip for one of the all-time greats...
Rod Carew plus is the upside scenario ... and Carew had a 50-50 career, glove at second base and then moving off it...
Not being aware of that, is as bad as was their not being aware that Justin Smoak was the real deal...  It takes one (1) game watching Ackley to see his total domination of the pitcher-batter matchup...
Odd, the obvious distaste that a lot of scouts have had for Ackley.  He's a dirt dog.

ghost's picture

The top 10 2B for me would go:
1) Rogers Hornsby
2) Joe Morgan
3) Eddie Collins
4) Nap Lajoie
5) Charlie Gehringer
6+...the rest of the universe
There's a big gap between those big 5 and the rest...and Ryne Sandberg doesn't even MAKE my top 10...perhaps I value defense more than you do, G? :)
FWIW, I have guys like Whitaker and Alomar ahead of Sandberg.


Nap is #5 for me. ;)  I put Sandberg in there just to have an offensive-first 2B other than Hornsby for reference.  I could have used Jeff Kent to make that point about offensive upside at 2B (since that's what we're talking about with Ackley), but I really hate that dude, he's more of a HR guy than Ackley, and Sandberg's in the HOF.
Alomar was a glove man who was ALSO a great bat, so slipping him into the #5 slot doesn't make a good Ackley comp either.
But Ryno?  He actually won a ton of gold gloves, but he was known for his dirt-doggedness and his stick.  And the fact that we can talk about Ryno as a top-whatever of all time at his position with this line is interesting to me:
.285/.344/.452/.795, 30 2B, 6 3B, 21 HRs per 162.
His best season ever? .304/.371/.510 with 32/ 8/ 26.  Anybody here wanna bet that Ackley can't post a best EVER that surpasses those first two slash numbers, or post up 36 combined doubles and triples in a season?
At that point it's just HRs and longevity keeping Ackley from being the best active player at his position - especially with offense coming back to earth in the declining-PED era.  If he hits HRs like Adam Kennedy, he's "just" gonna be really good.  If he hits em like Utley...
Derek Jeter sucks at defense, but I'll take some of that bad defense with the offense and leadership at a glove position that can help win titles.  So I probably do undervalue defense. ;)
Still, I'd love to be talking about Ackley's place in history in a decade or so, especially with a WS win (or two) under his belt.  Please, let us be so lucky.  First steps coming Friday, and then it's up to Ackley to show he's got what it takes to help us get to the Promised Land...and conquer it. 

Taro's picture

This guy could be our first position player star since Ichiro. Really high on Ackley. Reports are his defense has improved and his plate approach will almost certainly translate.
Really psyched about watching Ackley tomorrow. 

dream catcher's picture

me too Taro.  The thing i love about Ackley the most is his approach at the plate.  He looks so calm when waiting for his pitch.  Probably will be the most exciting hitter i've seen in a Mariner uniform since Griffey in his earlier days.


Jeter is an interesting name to bring up.  Clearly, he isn't a great glove SS.  But 3000 career hits makes up for a lot of mediocre leather. 
Not saying that Ackley is a 3000 knock guy, but just pointing out that if he is a decent glove (which can even be some below average) and whacks at a .280-.360-.430 clip he's a heck of a player. 
Lou Whitaker has a career .276-.362-.426 line, and he's on the very shot list of greatest 2B guys in the post-Morgan era.
That kind of clip is probably a fair over-under line for Ackley.  If so, there's a 50% chance he's a better bat than Whitaker. 
Wouldn't that be nice for the next dozen years? (if the M's will make him a franchise guy after arb three)


They haven't done it YET, but now they are at a spot where virtually every spot in the lineup COULD hit 100+.
You get the image of James Bond trying frantically to get the engine in the airplane started before it hits the ground...


Trammell had one year at AA, he was 19 years old  (next year he was in the majors). He had a .292-365-.414 line.  Also had a .956 fld pct and a 4.37 range.
Franklin at A+ this year and age 20, has a .275-.361-.421 line.  Also a .929 fld pct ad 4.27 range.
An fair comparison, I suppose.  Looks like Trammell was better a year earlier...but it isn't that far apart.  Franklin's SS fld % is suspect, though.
Interestingly, Trammell had 3 homers in 749 MiLB PA's.  Franklin is at 29 taters in 929 PA's.
If Franklin can develop the glove to play SS, even Jeter level SS, then he looks WAY nice.
With Ryan in the way for a while, does Franklin end up at third?
BTW...In his A+-AA year, Ryan (age 23) was a .939 fielder.  He was 3 years older than Franklin and just a bit better fielder.  At 24, in AA-AAA ball, Ryan was a .960 glove and then at 25, in AAA ball, is picked it at a .981 clip.
If Ryan's progression means anything...Franklin might turn into a more than adequate glove with a (for SS) really sweet bat!

Steen#'s picture

The obvious guess for the scouts difficulty in warming up to Dustin, no matter his performance, that his build is so slight they're all in "show me" mode before they buy in.
Personally, I think Ackley will be a blamed fine asset but I think the proclamations on his coming greatness feel a bit oversold. As the #2 pick he's in the realm of Griffey, Arod,& Hamilton, but he's no where near that talented, nor does he even even have the upside of a guy like Bryce Harper. 
I'd go so far to say the comparisons to Utley and Tulo are just setting ourselves up to be disappointed. I look at the decision to move him to 2nd as an indictment of his bat as much as a comment on his athleticism.
I don't mean to sound like  a downer, and considering the ineptness of the lineup, I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth a bit. Did I mention I'm excited for Friday?

ghost's picture

I don't think Ackley will be as good as Whitaker with the glove...which does hurt his chances to end up in my top ten all time at the position.  But say he fields like Roberto Alomar (who people think of as a great fielder but all the fielding metrics say he was actually rather lousy for most of his career)...os tjere any reason he can't also HIT like Alomar (read: a lot better than Whitaker).  I think Alomar or Carew is a better comp.  Carew was also a lousy fielder at second but hit enough to make that worth it.  And when paired with Ryan and his outstanding D, Smoak's above average D at first and Figgins' solid D at third...you aren't taking that big of a risk.


Well, at SSI we solicit contrary views and right now you are delivering the goods Steen.  LOL.
The move to 2B being an indictment of his bat?  ::whew::
Am well aware that no self-respecting scout would concede ANY distaste for Ackley; it's all totally unbiased, "tough but fair" evaluation don'cha know.  :- )
Agree that there is a logical basis in the distaste, in that Ackley's power and upside aren't easy to project. That's the middle ground.
My own suspicion is that the distaste, if it exists, lies in the classic Moneyball tension.  
The scouts like "pro bodies."  I visualize them cautioning that the UNC star would not have as heavy an impact in MLB, and saber-oriented shot callers overruling them and treating Ackley as a big star despite the lack of a "pro body."  
Beware!  Here lieth the NCAA superstar whose body plays only as a decent regular in the bigs.  Don't oversell this kid.  He's a college player.
Every time Ackley is re-sold as a guy whose body doesn't matter, it again disrespects the clipboard, and grates on the nerves.  That's how I see it.  Could be wrong.
Needless to say, all the same things were debated when Ichiro came in.  They needed to be shown before they bought in, too, except for Roger Jongewaard of course...
Keep it comin' Steen.  :daps:

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