- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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After a slow start, Dustin Ackley is red hot in May, leading to speculation the Mariners will soon recall their second-base prospect, the second overall pick in the 2009 draft.
Ackley is 9-for-14 over his last three games and has seven multihit games in his last 10, bringing his May batting line up to .377/.482/.638. The Tacoma Rainiers are returning from a road trip (Ackley went 17-for-33) and Jack Zduriencik said on Seattle radio the other day that Ackley will be up "sooner than later." Ackley has supreme plate discipline (33 walks so far) and has 15 extra-base hits, including six home runs. The Mariners certainly need offense, although second base hasn't actually been their biggest black hole -- the .705 OPS produced by Jack Wilson, Adam Kennedy and Luis Rodriguez is actually fifth in the AL among second base totals.
That said, it's time for Ackley to show what he can do. He was rated one of the best college bats in years, and while his power hasn't translated as some expected, he's still projected to hit for a decent average and produce a high on-base percentage.
Franklin Gutierrez is batting .275 over 11 games on his rehab stint and should soon be ready as well. The Mariners could then roll out a lineup that looks something like this:
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Dustin Ackley, 2B
Justin Smoak, 1B
Jack Cust, DH
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Miguel Olivo, C
Mike Wilson/Carlos Peguero, LF
Chone Figgins, 3B
Brendan Ryan, SS
OK, still pretty bad, but at least better than a lineup featuring Olivo hitting cleanup and Michael Saunders and Jack Wilson hitting anywhere. And, hey, Seattle is only 4 1/2 games out of first.