Saturday, August 1, 2015

Meet a Prospect: Dustin Ackley

Dustin Ackley has been a target for the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman for more than a few trading deadlines now and much like with most targets of Cashman, he eventually gets his man. Cashman has made it a habit of getting his man just a few seasons too late, Carlos Beltran and Ackley come to mind immediately, but he got his man nonetheless. New York sent outfielder Ramon Flores and right-handed starting pitcher Jose Ramirez to Seattle in exchange for Ackley who has one more season of arbitration eligibility after the 2015 season. Where will Ackley play, who will he replace and how will he fit in with the team? That’s anybody’s guess but let’s meet him anyway. The Man, the Myth, the Brian Cashman led Legend, Mr. Dustin Ackley.

Dustin Michael Ackley was born on February 26, 1988 to John and Joy Ackley in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he spent his High School and College days playing baseball.  Ackley attended South Stokes High School in Walnut Cove, North Carolina for his first three seasons playing baseball for the school’s team before transferring to North Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem. Ackley helped South Stokes win North Carolina 1A state titles in 2003 and 2004 before transferring where he pitched and played third base there as a senior in Winston. Ackley’s High School playing career and the fact that he was a straight A honor roll student garnered enough attention for him to attend the University of North Carolina on a full baseball scholarship.

Ackley wasted no time etching his name in the record books as a Tarheel as he set UNC’s single-season record for hits in a season, 119, at bats in a season, 296 and games played, 73, as a rookie and teammate of the Yankees RHP Adam Warren. Ackley led the team to the 2007 College World Series fial round before losing to the Oregon State Beavers. Ackley and UNC were back in the College World Series in 2009 with Ackley named an All-American after hitting over .400 for the second straight season and setting another school-record for runs scored in a single season with 82. Ackley slacked off a bit in his junior season hitting just .399 although he did hit 20 home runs for the club leading to be named the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Player of the Year. Ackley once again participated in the College World Series in 2009 which prepared him for everything that was about to come in his career, including the MLB First Year Players Draft of 2009.

The Seattle Mariners came calling with the second overall pick in the 2009 Draft handing him a five-year deal worth $7.5 million with a $6 million signing bonus with another $2.5 million possibly based on how quickly he made it to the major leagues. Ackley immediately won the Arizona Fall League MVP Award in his first season and just like that his Mariners career was underway. Ackley wasn’t long for the minors though as in June of 2011 he was promoted to the big leagues to face the Phillies starter Roy Oswalt where he collected his first hit, a single. Ackley played second base for Seattle until the Mariners brought former Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano in via free agency to man the position and has basically been an everyday outfielder since the beginning of the 2014 season. Ackley played third base, first base, pitcher and shortstop as a member of the UNC Tarheels and adjusted to the constant position moving well while in Seattle.

Ackley was acquired before the deadline by the Yankees and will bring his .215 average at the time of the trade with six home runs and 19 RBI to the Bronx. How he will react under the bright lights, exactly where he will play and what role he will fill remains to be seen but I am somewhat intrigued to watch it all play out. Welcome to the family Dustin, let’s go get a ring. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)