Ackley's Glove - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Q.  The Ugly:  how "natural" did Ackley look out there?

A.  He didn't look natural, whatsoever.  He looked like a Michael Jordan-level athlete, playing out of position.

An example, the bouncer that Ryan Howard hit to him early in the game, Ackley had been playing several steps on the outfield grass.  He correctly charged the ball, taking control of it, but now check his position just as he reaches the ball:

The ball is just about to hop UP from here, so Ackley has raced in and mis-timed the hops so that he has a tough little short hop.  Also, how do you run in ten yards, and then wind up this far to the side of it?


Also notice the footwork on the throw following:

trong>  Zduriencik points out the key light bulb here.  There are plenty of second basemen who polished their games in the majors.

In the meantime, Ackley is young, supremely gifted, and farther along than he has any right to be.  He'll be very adequate this year and next, and probably excellent at his peak.


My $0.02,




I'll agree that Roy Hobbs, er..Ackley, looked a bit odd on the toss after fielding the first ball hit to him.  However, I thought the hop and the soft toss from the shoulder was due to the fact that he was so close to Smoak, maybe 35 ft. As well, he was gereally moving directly at Smoak at that point.
And, I think he was being exceptionally careful on the first ball he ever touched.  I thought it was less that beautiful, but not awkward.  It was just a result of being so close that a crow hop and 3/4 arm whip was the wrong play.
When he made the DP turn, I was way impressed, especially with the gun. 
Is Iris Gaines (played by Glenn Closs) his childhood sweetheart?


Ruiz wasn't going spikes high or anything, but was coming in plenty agressive and was coming to knock the rookie down. As he came in, it looked at first like Ackley's feet were ROOTED in the ground. On the replay, you see how light on his feet and how quickly he moved as Ruiz was making contact.
Still, I'd like to see him work on those phantom tags at second if only to keep himself safer this year.

Taro's picture

Looks very raw right now defensively, but he'll figure it out eventually.
You've got him controlled for 6 years after this (Boras) so theres no reason to baby him in the OF. He gives you the most bang for your buck at 2B.


Would be that "creative deceleration" interpretation... Jack Wilson is "creative" out there and if that's what Ackley was doing, putting his own fingerprints on the play, then wow...


Ackley has almost Ichiro-like power to weight ratio... the factor of Ackley being light on his feet around 2B, as with Omar Vizquel, had not occurred...
Good catch man...


Just curious ... watching him play defense in the majors ... does the patience in bringing him up seem a little more reasoned?


1.  Definitely no harm done by an extra look around the PCL or IL, as a Braves fan is well aware ... Halman and Carp are among the first Mariners' prospects to get more-than-enough time in AAA, and the fruits of the investment are apparent...
Should be night-and-day to any M's fan, their exposure to prospects who actually got plenty 'nuff AAA time and who hit the AL turf ready to do battle...
2.  I think if we assign the timing to anything other than Scott Bora$ and super two, we are being a bit naive...
3.  Think he'd have been okay at 2B even fifty games ago, but your point is well taken amigo... at this point in his defensive arc, every week has real value, just as far as being that many more GB's he sees ...
4.  All's well that ends well:  the Scrub surprise this year played 2B, the M's are tied for first, and Ackley's now up and will be acclimated in plenty of time for the real push in 2012...


My focus on player development tends to focus (probably too much) on the subsidiary impacts from personnel moves.  In the case of defense, I have argued from day one that you can only create a top flight MLB defense if your ACTIONS support the rhetoric.
If you examine 2011 ... the team DER was in the toilet from April 1 pretty much until the instant the club choose to dump Bradley and Langerhans overboard.  I believe the loss of Guti as the 'defensive soul' seriously hurt the club, and the only guy capable of stepping up to assume that role was Jack Wilson ... who ended up pouting and sniffling at second.  Ryan, as a mercenary, could not 'instantly' assume that mantel ... some things take time.
The club has preached defense is important.  But, if you bring up Ackley when he gets hot in AAA ... and he arrives in the majors with some glaringly obvious issues defensively, then you risk undermining the entire idea that defense actually is important.  Mind you ... the players understand that up-the-middle defense is more important than on-the-corners defense.  A poor defensive 1B who mashes isn't going to be viewed the same way as a 2B who looks a little lost.
I'm not naive that Boras and Super2 was "a factor" in the decision.  But, when the rhetoric from the club is "defense matters" ... then when you hold back your bonus baby and "say" that his defense still needs work ... when he arrives and it is visibly obvious that ... well, his defense still needs work ... then you're showing a consistency in action and word.  Carp was also getting more PT in the OF while other bats got promoted ahead of him, (including the more gifted glove of Halman).
Pretty much the visual concensus on Ackley is that he'll be fine "with enough reps" at second.  Obviously, the determination of "enough" gets very subjective.  Just because this is convenient in regards to Super 2 does not make the contention less true.


You can visualize the other players' disgust when they're asked to work on defense and then, boom, there are Chris Snelling and Jack Cust playing center field...
Not sure this concern applied to Ackley specifically, who is a gym rat and who has been the Rainiers' most error-free defender, but the general idea is legit...

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