Mariners Clear Path For Ackley

Unless Dustin Ackley falls flat on his face during Spring Training, he will start at Second Base for Seattle. The Mariners traded Jose Lopez to the Rockies for a few baseball cards, a sack of marbles, cough Petey RHP Chaz Roe, the 32nd overall pick in the 2005 draft. If they didn’t make the trade, Lopez would have been non-tendered and released anyway. The Mariners are basically handing the starting job to their prized prospect.

Ackley was the 2nd overall pick in the 2009 draft. He’ll be 23-years old at the start of the season and has only one year of professional baseball under his belt. Ackley started the ’10 season in AA and made the jump to AAA after 82 games. His stats weren’t spectacular, but were pretty good for a 22-year old playing his first season of pro ball. He hit .265 with 7 HR and 10 SB in 501 At Bats. His 14% LD% wasn’t much to write home about, but his 15.8% K% was pretty good.

The hype will officially start now that Jose Lopez is out of town. We’re talking about a young kid with pedigree who is being fast tracked to the big leagues. He was named the Arizona Fall League MVP (he led the AFL in AVG, OBP, SLG and Runs Scored), which will only fuel the hype. I’d like to draft Ackley on at least one team, but if the price gets too high I won’t be afraid to pass on the 23-year old. He’s awfully young and Seattle is not a good environment for hitters.

More fuel for the hype: In his Freshman year in college, Ackley led the nation with 119 Hits in 296 At Bats (.402). In his Sophomore year, he hit .417. He was nicknamed Roy Hobbs by his Tar Heel teammates when he broke an aluminum bat.

In other Mariners news, the club signed Erik Bedard to a one-year contact. He’s expected to be ready for Spring Training after undergoing shoulder surgery and missing all of 2010.