Dustin Ackley’s DestructionAugust 10th, 2012 by terrybenish
Taking the time to look at the monthly splits of Dustin Ackley is illuminating. I will put some basic stuff below, month to month OPS, stuff from his slash line. If you go to his fangraph’s page and look at the underlying stuff the performance this year from last is there, BABIP is down, but he strikes out way more than in minor league, walks about half as much as he did in minor leagues. His OPS since May, by month, is below .600. For you casual and first time readers, that suggests he is not a major league hitter.
Despite the bologna remarks about being able to fix it at this level espoused by the team, the reverse is happening, that is he’s getting worse as each month goes by.
There were some pronouncements attributed to Chris Chambliss about shortening his stride which if true are disturbing. The walks and strike outs suggest he’s not seeing the ball as well as he did in the minor leagues. Almost certainly he is late to start his swing, late to get his foot down on time on 19 out of 20 pitches. Being late induces lots of head movement which causes him to swing at balls or not recognize fastballs down the middle. It causes his front side to fly open and it causes the bathead to drop, which causes pop ups and a decline in contact.
Watching him through a game like Wednesday’s is painful and frustrating in that there was only one good at bat out of five. He was 0-5, the one good at bat was the fourth one where he lined to the second baseman. Three ks and a pop up. At some point here he’s going to think he can’t play.
His OPS in May was .735, June .566, July .583 and so far in August .509. With a team that is full of young guys trying to break through, maybe an additional hitting coach/video guy, or two coaches as a team.
Try something. They have a lot invested in the success of Ackley and others and whatever they are doing at this level is not working for him. Jeff Pentland at Tacoma IS a very good hitting coach.