Los Angeles Angels sign Dustin Ackley to a minor league contract

The Los Angeles Angels have signed Dustin Ackley to a minor league contract and have extended him an invite to spring training. Ackley will once again have the chance to prove himself major league worthy.

The Los Angeles Angels have signed infielder/outfielder Dustin Ackley to a minor league contract. Ackley, the #2 overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft, has also been extended an invite to spring training. He will have the chance to prove himself worthy of a roster spot in 2017.

Although once a premier prospect, it is unlikely Ackley will cause much of a stir at camp. His prospective has grown thin as he is now 28-years-old. The Seattle Mariners hung on to their coveted top draft pick as long as they could, but it became evident that Ackley would not live up to his draft potential. Seattle opted to part ways with Ackley in 2015, and after very spotty time with the New York Yankees, Ackley was once again made available this offseason. Now, the Angels feel inclined to sign him based solely on curiosity.

Dustin Ackley has proven himself to be a quality defensive player. Whether it’s second base, first base, or the outfield, Ackley can hold his own. However, he has struggled mightily with the bat throughout his major league career. A good glove and a poor bat is generally a bad combination. Unless Ackley has the glove of Omar Vizquel, it’s a long shot to earn any consistent playing time in the big leagues.

A small sample of encouraging play from Ackley in the latter part of the 2015 season got everyone’s hopes up. During that time Ackley slashed .288/.333/.654, hitting four home runs, two triples, and three doubles in 52 at-bats with the Yankees. Unfortunately, Ackley took a major step back in 2016. In all of 70 games, he slashed .148/.243./.148. His 2015 flash of power proved as rare as a lightning strike in 2016.

Power was always a concern for Ackley even after he hit 22 homers in his final college season with the North Carolina Tar Heels. No one expected him to hit 30 home runs a season in MLB; however, he was expected to be a great gap-to-gap hitter. Ultimately, the transition to wood bats proved difficult for Ackley. He’s had trouble hitting for power and appears to have changed his plate approach to the works of a slap hitter.

The Los Angeles Angels look for Ackley to join the mix of utility players they have on their roster. This includes Cliff Pennington, Danny Espinosa, Jefry Marte, and Ben Revere. Ackley is on the outside looking in; he will have to impress in order to have a big league job out of camp. It will be a matter of offensive production for Dustin Ackley. The Angels likely do not have any concrete expectations for him, they are simply giving Ackley a chance to prove himself. For Ackley himself, he’ll try to earn a utility role, but if he can’t earn it right away, he has the minor leagues as a fallback.

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