The Mariners' infield future is in flux and the current season is in the trash bin and so it is of interest that we should follow the goings on in Tacoma where potential future contributors Justin Smoak (first base) and Dustin Ackley (second base) currently ply their trade. Smoak we saw up in Seattle and he's only been down in Tacoma for a short period but it has been a while since we really checked in on Ackley's progress.
Concerns about his defense remain but those are incredibly hard to suss out from a spreadsheet alone. Especially in the Minor Leagues we leave those judgments to scouts. We can evaluate his offensive performance though and there we have some good news.
After Ackley's slow start during April in West Tennessee, he caught fire and earned himself a promotion up to Tacoma. It would be reasonable to then expect a slow down at the higher level. Instead, Ackley has acquitted himself nicely with a .294/.363/.479. He has recently lost the exceptional walk to strikeout rate that he had down in Double-A (55 walks, 41 Ks) with a poor stretch over his last ten games, but that's a small sample to judge by and his overall numbers in Tacoma are still good.
There are also still some split issues to watch out for as Ackley is struggling against lefties with a .596 OPS. From a hitting side side that's about the only worry left for Ackley. He's succeeding against the highest competition there is outside of the Major Leagues, he's displayed good patience at the plate, great contact rates and an solid amount of power.
Dustin Ackley is coming soon.