Dustin Ackley is a much better player than you think…and here’s why…
|Photo Via Outside Pitch MLB|
In the Yankees first deadline move, general manager Brian Cashman moved prospects Ramon Flores (OF) and RHP Jose Ramirez. In return, he got the former number two overall pick in 2009, a versatile left-handed hitting Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners.
Now I may not be speaking for all Yankee fans, but the common consensus around fans is that the Yankees have already lost this trade or that it’s a disaster. If you glance at Ackley’s numbers, you’re not going to be impressed.
Those who know me know I’m a huge UNC Tar Heel fan, so I’ve watched Ackley since he was 19 years old. He’s now 27, entering his prime, and is surely an upgrade over Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan. You don’t believe me? Let’s take a deeper look at it.
Let’s start with the facts: Ackley is hitting .215 on the season with six home runs and 19 RBIs. Although I’m a fan of his, I’m unimpressed by his 2015 campaign, until I break it down. Ackley got off to a DREADFUL start in April and May hitting to a Stephen Drew-esque .196 and .180, respectively. Since May 31st, Ackley is hitting .261 including .286 in the month of July.
|Photo Credit: Ed Zurga | Getty Images|
On the flip side, Stephen Drew just might be heating up, but it’s too little, too late. Drew hasn’t cracked .200 all season long although he is hitting .318 over his last seven games, but still just .225 over his last 30 games. Now, Drew has more home runs than Ackley (13 to six) but Ackley hits in Safeco Field, one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the league. Surely, Ackley’s power numbers (being a left-handed hitter) will improve in Yankee Stadium and he’ll easily be matching Drew’s “power” if not outright surpassing him.
Where Dustin Ackley is having a down year at the plate, no one can convince me Stephen Drew is having a down year; he’s just having another Stephen Drew year where he is an awful hitter. But again, at just 27, Ackley is entering his prime and should only get better in a hitter friendly ballpark that seems to help everyone, particularly with their power numbers.
|Photo Via Reddit|
This article isn’t written to compare Stephen Drew and Dustin Ackley by any means but it does enhance the perspective that you should be seeing: Ackley is an upgrade over Drew and, as a matter of fact, Brendan Ryan. It may not be a drastic improvement, but Cashman got a player that is going to fill an area of need for sure. Additionally, the acquisition may not foreshadow the end of Stephen Drew as he may stay on the roster as a defensive upgrade in the late innings.
Ackley came into the league as a first baseman out of the University of North Carolina. He hasn’t played first base much since, but he’s played quite a few games at second base, left field, right field and center field. He hasn’t played second since 2013, but if you’re wondering what kind of fielding second baseman Ackley is, he’s pretty solid. Ackley didn’t make a single error at second base in 2013 in 53 games. He's also a good fielding outfielder with just 3 career errors in 270 career games for a fielding percentage of .994.
|Photo Credit: Otto Greule | Getty Images|
Ackley has only played one game at second base in 2015 mostly due to some guy named Robinson Cano manning the position. The name sounds familiar, but doesn't ring a bell (I kid). Anyways, Cano and Ackley are not even remotely the same player so this analogy may bounce right off your shoulder, but we are well aware of the player Cano was in Yankee Stadium compared to the player he is now in 2015. Ackley will not hit as well as Cano did in New York, but similar to Cano, Ackley SHOULD be a much improved hitter in the Bronx.
Obviously, it’s a very small sample size by in 17 games as a visiting player, Ackley has hit to a slash line of .296/.397/.481 with two home runs and nine RBIs in Yankee Stadium. If he continues hitting to the pace in pinstripes, we’ll all be big fans of Ackley and we may forget about the dreadful days of Drew or Brendan Ryan.
The versatility that Ackley provides as well as his left handed bat at the back end of the lineup is going to help the Yankees. As I’ve stated on twitter, Ackley may not provide a drastic improvement over the players the Yankees already have, but he’ll be better than Drew, Ryan and possibly even Garrett Jones.
Speaking of Jones, there are murmurs that either he or Ackley could be flipped in another trade, possibly for a starting pitcher, so keep your eyes and ears open for that one.
If you look at what the Yankees gave up to get Ackley, it truly wasn't all that much. Sure, I liked Ramon Flores but if you look at Aaron Judge, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Ben Gamel, it was clear Flores didn't have a spot on this team in the future. Jose Ramirez has potentially good stuff out of the bullpen but he has been terrible in short stints with the big league club.
Now that I’ve completely backed Brian Cashman and the Yankee front office for the acquisition of Dustin Ackley, I can only hope that he proves me right! I expect Ackley to be an upgrade as a starting second baseman for the Yankees and I expect him to get some playing time in the outfield to give others a day off. All in all, this should have convinced you that the Ackley deal, although no blockbuster, is a good move for the New York Yankees. Let’s get excited about a newly clean shaven, far better player than his numbers indicate player coming to the Bronx in Dustin Ackley.
Article by: Chad Raines (BBB Founder)
Follow me on twitter @Chad_Rain
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