Tag:Dustin Ackley
Posted on: November 20, 2010 6:00 pm

Harper, Scorpions win AFL; Ackley takes MVP

Bryce Harper has yet to see a major-league pitch and yet he is already a champion.
The Arizona Fall League has come to a close, with the Scottsdale Scorpions defeating the Peoria Javelinas, 3-2, in the championship game.

Scottsdale got a gem of a start from the Nationals' Sammy Solis, who went four innings, giving up one earned run (plus another run) and walked one, whiffing three. On offense, Rockies prospect Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-2 with a walk before being removed from the game.

Top prospect Bryce Harper was responsible for an RBI in his first at-bat of the day, ripping a first-pitch single just past the Red Sox' Jose Iglesias at short. Harper finished with the sole hit and two strikeouts in four trips to the plate.

Ackley Although Harper got most of the attention in the AFL on the days he played, the overall MVP came from Peoria, as second baseman Dustin Ackley (pictured) walked away with the honors.

"Dustin Ackley produced one of the most consistent offensive performances in the history of the Fall League," AFL director Steve Cobb said. "His ability was obvious a year ago when the Mariners also sent him to the Fall League to refine his skills against other top prospects just four months after making him the No. 2 pick in  the 2009 draft. His development has been rapid. Combined with his leadership traits, Dustin’s future is bright."

The Mariners' pick batted third in the championship game and went 1-for-4. He finished the AFL regular season with a stellar .424 average and may push for a big-league spot in spring training.

Ex-Oriole pitcher Adam Loewen, now 26 and in the Blue Jays system as an outfielder, shined with a 3-for-3 night and a walk, all hits as singles.

Alas, Ackley, Loewen and Iglesias (who turned a beautiful double play) weren't enough to win the game. The two runs the offense scored couldn't overcome Kyle Greenwalt's two runs allowed in three innings, with Tom Wilhelmsen coughing up the winning run in the fourth.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 19, 2010 8:35 pm

Harper continues to impress in AFL

If you want to see Bryce Harper play, his Scottsdale Scorpions will be in the Arizona Fall League championship on Saturday, with the game on MLB Network (3 p.m. Eastern). Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein has already watched Harper in Arizona and came away impressed.

"He attacks the baseball, which is great for a hitter," Eckstein told MLB.com's Bill Ladson . "The days that he wasn't playing, he treated those days as if he was playing. He would go out during batting practice and get reads off the bat in right field and center field. He was working to get better in the outfield. It was impressive watching him work."

Bryce Harper As a member of the "taxi squad," Harper's been limited to playing two days a week. One of those days is Saturday, so he'll be able to play in Saturday's game against the Peoria Javelinas, who feature Seattle second baseman Dustin Ackley, Houston first baseman Koby Clemens and Toronto shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria, among others. Astros right-hander Kyle Greenwalt will start for the Javelinas.

Harper isn't expected to start in the game, though he is expected to play. Nationals outfield prospect Michael Burgess will get the start in right field.

Harper has had limited opportunities playing just twice a week, but he's certainly capitalized, hitting .343/.410/.629 in nine games, hitting a home run, three double and two triples in just 35 at-bats.

"I think we would be doing ourselves a disservice trying to put that timeline together," Eckstein told MLB.com about when Harper should expect to make the big leagues. "Go into A ball and succeed. He gets a taste of coming up through the minor leagues. He is advanced, but he just turned 18. We have to understand that, too. I think he could compete at a high level, but you don't want to risk that developmental time mentally. I'm very impressed with every part of him as a person, as a player, the way he thinks and his commitment to excellence."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 6, 2010 3:19 pm

Seriously, there's live baseball on tonight

Dustin Ackley
Don't tell the guys over at the college football blog I told you this, but you really don't have to watch college football today. There's actual live baseball on TV. Good baseball, even.

The Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game is on MLB Network at 9 p.m. Eastern. The Arizona Fall League is where organizations send their best prospects, and Rising Stars is essentially the AFL all-star game, so there are some serious players on the rosters. In 2010, 28 of the 50 players on last year's Rising Stars rosters played in the majors, including Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey (sorry, World Champion Buster Posey), Mike Leake and Starlin Castro.

There are 19 former first-round picks on the rosters this year, including 2009 overall No. 2 Dustin Ackley (pictured) of the Mariners and former Top 5 picks Eric Hosmer (Royals), Josh Vitters (Cubs) and Tony Sanchez (Pirates).

The scheduled starting pitchers are the Royals' Mike Montgomery and the Yankees' Manny Banuelos. If you want to check out whether any of your team's prospects are playing, complete rosters can be found here.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 2, 2010 5:40 pm

Mariners want Ackley to run more

Ackley The Mariners have to be pleased with the progress of rookie Dustin Ackley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft.

Ackley, who has already made a conversion to second base and spent the latter part of the year with Triple-A as a 22-year-old playing in his first professional season, should be ready to break into the majors by 2011 and have a full-time spot by 2012. Currently, the left-handed hitter is playing for the Arizona Fall League and showing he's for real with a .344/.522/.625 line in 32 at-bats with two home runs. While small sample size has to be considered, Ackley's progress this season is undeniable.

Except in one area: running the bases.
“I told him, ‘It doesn’t matter how many times you get caught stealing,’” minor-league infield and baserunning coordinator Darren Garner told the Everett Herald . “If you get thrown out, so what? If it happens three times in a row, so what? You’re learning every time you go."

Garner is talking about how Ackley has only attempted to steal one base (he succeeded). That's not enough for Seattle, who wants him to run more and envisions him batting in the No. 1 or 2 spot down the road spots that need wheels. Seattle has been trying to get Ackley to run more all season, even as Ackley swiped just 10 bags (three caught) during the regular season.

Brown, for one, is encouraging Ackley to focus on what he needs to do to improve in the AFL. Yes, baseball is a team sport, but the AFL is there to improve your own production against other top-caliber prospects.

“You’re trying to win games here, but you’re also here to work on your skills," Brown added. "You probably don’t want to go and there are times in the game that dictate don’t go. But early in the game, the game always dictates go. You’ve got to work on your game. If you don’t work on your game, it doesn’t do you any good as an individual."

 The mere fact Seattle is trying to get Ackley to run more shows that the youngster has more game than even he may be comfortable with.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 14, 2010 2:04 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2010 7:14 pm

Three prospects promoted to Triple-A

Dustin Ackley Two heralded prospects have gotten the call to Triple-A, and the majors are not far off for two who hold the distinction of being a No. 2 pick.

The Mariners promoted Dustin Ackley (pictured) to Triple-A after seeing the No. 2 pick in the 2009 draft handle Double-A with aplomb. The converted outfielder who is playing second base hit .263/.389/.384 for West Tennessee in 350 at-bats. Don't be fooled by the line, however. The 22-year-old had a David Ortiz-esque April by hitting .147/.289/.227. Since then, he's been one of the better producers for his team.

The Royals promoted their own top infield prospect, Mike Moustakas. A long-time top prospect who had lost some of his luster, the light bulb has turned on for 2007's No. 2 pick. The 21-year-old hit .347/.413/.687 with 21 bombs in 298 plate appearances. The third-baseman figures to man the hot corner for years and could do so beginning in 2011 depending on how his Triple-A experience goes.

The Mariners and Royals may be stumbling in the bigs, but the future is bright for both squads.

UPDATE : The White Sox have promoted their first-round pick of the 2010 draft to Triple-A, furthering belief that Sale could be the first pick of the draft to reach the bigs. The lefty pitched just four innings for Class-A Winston-Salem, whiffing four and walking two in those innings.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com