Ackley to be Groomed for Second Base
Ackley was either going to end up in the outfield, probably at a corner position, or at second base. Now we have our answer.
Don’t be worried. Actually, if I were you, I would be relieved. This means the M’s like Saunders in left field, Gutierrez in center, and Ichiro in right for the next 3-4 years. It could also mean that they don’t like Jose Lopez at second base, and we all knew his defense was meh and his bat would be much better suited to a different ballpark.
We don’t have to worry about Ackley’s bat. Some baseball analysts buy into the idea that a player’s offensive performance is partially tied to what position he plays; for example, players who play less physically demanding positions on the field are sometimes more productive on the offensive end than players who play, say, catcher or shortstop. I don’t. Ackley’s bat is going to be just fine.
We don’t have to worry about Ackley’s defense. He’s 6’1″ and 185 pounds, soon to be bigger and tougher and stronger. The kid was undoubtedly the best athlete in the 2009 draft, and athleticism almost always (there are a few exceptions, hey, Michael Jordan) correlates directly with defensive performance. I’m not talking “Joe Schmo arrived at Spring Training in the best shape of his life” bogus athleticism. I’m talking about the ability to break an aluminum bat while hitting a grand slam. I’m talking about the ability to steal 20-25 bases a season, hit 15-20 homers, and hit over .300 while also being able to post a plus UZR at whatever position he plays.
I’m talking about this:
And for those who, after my continued warnings, are still worried: Jack Zduriencik said in an interview, “We are not etching this into stone to say this guy will be the second baseman of the future.” It’s possible Ackley ends up in left field, or even at first base. The M’s playing around with Ackley’s capabilities, and I trust that they will ultimately make the right decision as to where he belongs.
We’re safe. Ackley’s path to stardom won’t be affected in the least by this move.