As most of the readers out there know, I was very big on Dustin Ackley as he came out of college at nearby UNC. He was taken 2nd overall by the Mariners in 2009 and I thought he might very well be the best player in the draft not named Stephen Strasburg. He played first base in college but was transitioned to second base as a pro.
The reason for the transitioning is another big time prospect Justin Smoak. The Rangers 11th overall pick from the 2008 draft, that the Mariners got as part of the Cliff Lee deal. Smoak had the pedigree and had some strong minor league numbers, including what a team covets the most in first baseman, power. Unfortunately, with 12 homers and a batting average of 0.223 he;s just not what the Mariners thought they were getting.
Conversely, Ackley has been as good as advertised. In just over 100 at bats, he is hitting 0.301/4/18 and has 2 stolen bases. In retrospect, maybe Ackley was good enough for the first baseman’s job. Anyhow I don’t see Smoak as the long term fit at first for the Mariners and with Mike Carp destroying the ball in the outfield, I don’t think it will be long until he is moved to first and Smoak is traded.
Ackley though might very well be a fixture in Seattle for the next decade. He is looking like he turn turn into the next Craig Biggio and that’s something the Mariners have needed for a long time. As for the battle of the card prices, Ackley’s autographs are running between $50 – $75 for the most part, while Smoak’s autographs are running between $8 – $15. There was a time when both of these guys were around $30 – $40, but as they say past performance doesn’t predict future revenue sometimes.