Dustin Ackley is off to a slow start this season. His OPS currently stands at .707 thanks mostly to a really low batting average. His .136 isolated discipline (OBP-AVG) and his .135 isolated power (SLG-AVG) are fine. Ackley profiles as a high average kind of hitter and I think we'd all be perfectly happy with a .280/.415/.415 batting line from him. Sure, more power would be nice at his peak, but I'm willing to settle for anything involving a .400+ on base percentage.
Ackley started slowly last season as well, so this may be a thing. Or it may not be. It's his second professional season. Anyways, I wanted to focus on that low batting average for the moment because as stated above, that's about his only offensive worry*. He is batting .218 and that's no good. He's basically some Chone Figgins/Jack Cust hybrid right now and we don't want that. But is that .218 a cause for actual concern?
*Defensively, you'd have to ask someone who's been watching him play. Any T-Towners want to chime in?
I think it is not. Ackley's batting average on his balls in play (BABIP) is abysmally low at .229. It's a small sample but he carried a more usual .300 rate last season between West Tenn (now Jackson) and Tacoma. There has been no real change in his batted ball profile this season compared to last. He's getting roughly the same percentage of grounders, flies, line drives and pop ups so we would expect a similar BABIP.
Ackley is missing seven hits if you assume his true talent BABIP is at that .300 range. Add those seven hits back and his batting average jumps from .218 to .277, his triple slash line becomes .277/.413/.412 if you assume those seven are all singles. With that line we'd turn to obsessing over him just needing to add a little more power (hey, it's freaking cold out if you hadn't noticed), but truthfully we'd be pretty pleased. I know many of us are impatient to see him dazzle, but take heart. He has shown some real improvement this season in his plate approach which was already fantastic and the hits will come. Dustin Ackley will be here soon.