Former first round pick Dustin Ackley’s statistics were so impressive in the Arizona Fall League that he won the league MVP award. What does that mean for the Mariners?
He led the league in hitting with a .424 average. He was also first in onbase percentage at .581; first in slugging .758; and first in runs scored with 28. Putting the cherry on top, he was a perfect five for five in stolen bases. Power plus speed, a tough combination, one hard to ignore for the offense starved Mariners.
The Arizona Fall League is an elite league for top prospects, the ones expected to play in the majors, and play soon. Around 75% of these guys end up on major league rosters, like Buster Posey who played in the AFL last fall and this year won the NL Rookie of the Year.
Ackley’s performance was good enough that the Mariners should make him the everyday second baseman, moving Chone Figgins to third.
With Justin Smoak taking over at first, adding Ackley gives them two young players to build a future with and one with offensive potential.
Ackley is still learning second base. However, there is no reason why he can not learn at the major league level. He should be competent enough not to be a liability.
The Mariners lost 101 games last season. They have nothing to lose playing future stars play now, especially with numbers like Ackley. Add in new manager Eric Wedge with his good reputation working and developing young players, the move makes sense.
Numbers can reflect a players ability, but they can also mislead, not telling a players true worth. Ackley was a number one pick, he has advanced through the minor league system, he had a great fall. The numbers indicate it is time to inject fresh blood into the lineup.