Former North Carolina infielder Dustin Ackley has been on the fast track to the major leagues since leading North Carolina to the College World Series in 2009. He was the number 2 overall selection in the 2009 MLB Draft behind Stephen Strasburg. He started the 2010 season in Double A with the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx where he played in 82 games hitting .263 with two homers and 28 RBI as he adjusted to a new position at second base. He ended up being promoted to the Tacoma Rainiers where he played in 52 games with a .274 batting average while hitting five homers and driving in 23 runs.
The start of spring training games gives us a chance to check in on some Former College Players and how they are adjusting to pro baseball. Today, we check in on some American League stars and will be checking in on the National League in the coming days.
OF – Colin Curtis, NYY (Arizona State, 4th Round, 2006)
Curtis started off Spring Training strong with a walk-off 3-run homerun against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first game of Spring Training, and has a chance to make the Opening Day roster. His chances depend on the what the Yankees see in Jamie Hoffman, who is currently hitting .125 with only one extra basehit in 16 AB’s. Bleacher Report has a good analysis on Colin’s chances of making the 25-man roster.
By Bob Elliott, Canadian Baseball Network
Playing his first year of college ball south of the border, Sawyer hit .346 with 19 homers and 58 RBIs in 56 games for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.
A product of the Prairie Baseball Academy and coach Blair Kubicek, Sawyer had one stretch where he homered in 11 of 13 games for SDSU, in its second season as a provisional NCAA Division I school.
When Atlanta Braves starter Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine filmed the NIKE commercial the key line was delivered by Maddux who said “chicks dig the long ball.”
And so do voters.
Sawyer’s 19 homers led the 711 Canadians playing south of the border in 2009 and he also led all vote getters in balloting for the 10th annual All-Canadian College Team. Sawyer had 33 first-place votes and was named on 43 of 49 ballots to win our unofficial player of the year award.
FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
SAN DIEGO – Stephen Strasburg, the national player of the year and first selection in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft by the Washington Nationals, has made a $141,000 contribution to San Diego State Athletics to benefit the baseball program.
Strasburg’s commitment will allow SDSU to upgrade the surface of Tony Gwynn Stadium. New synthetic turf will replace the grass skirting from dugouts to baselines. In addition, the gift will aid the operation of the Aztec baseball program.
Dustin Ackley and the Seattle Mariners came to terms on Monday evening on a five year $7.5 million deal but it was lost in the wake of the Stephen Strasburg deal. The Mariners were burning the midnight oil as they beat the deadline by 15 minutes. I personally had a chance to see him play in over 10 games during his college days and was thoroughly impressed with his hitting. Dustin also has a great attitude and should be able to handle the off the field pressures of being the number two selection in the draft. He is not as fast but still runs well so in my opinion he will be an excellent number two hitter. The only question is: Where will the Mariners play him? Second base? Centerfield? I have heard many different things and we should see what Seattle does over the next couple of years with him.
The national nightmare has come to an end as Stephen Strasburg has signed with the Washington Nationals for 15.67 million over four seasons according to a report by Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt which posted the following tweet.
Aaron Fitt reports Strasburg signs. MLB deal worth $15.67 million over 4 years.
Interesting that he got such a large deal and was only 4.33 million off the 20 million that was getting thrown around over the last few days.
The big story of the day is whether the Washington Nationals are going to sign San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg by the midnight deadline tonight. He is not the only one as number 2 selection in UNC’s Dustin Ackley is still unsigned among others. Both of these players are represented by baseball power agent Scott Boras who has become one of the toughest negotiators in the industry over the last few years. This has ended up hurting some players in their negotiations for a contract as many players have slipped down the draft board.
The Cape Cod Baseball League has put out their 2009 All-Cape League team. It is led by CCBL MVP Kyle Roller from East Carolina and CCBL Top Pitcher Chris Sale from Florida Gulf Coast. The infield features first baseman Mickey Wiswall (Boston College), second baseman Pierre LePage (Uconn), shortstop B.A. Vollmuth (Southern Miss) and third baseman Jedd Gyorko (West Virginia). The two ultility infielders are Zach Cox (Arkansas) and Nick Crawford (UAB). The outfield is led by Todd Cunningham (Jacksonville State). The other four members of the All-League outfield are Gary Brown (CS-Fullerton), Austin Wates (Virginia Tech), Brian Fletcher (Auburn), and George Springer (UConn). The catchers are Mike Murray (Wake Forest) and Cody Stanley (UNC-Wilmington). Ryan Cuneo (Delaware) joins Roller as the All-League Designated Hitters.
Auburn University signee Nick Franklin signed with the Seattle Mariners today according to a report on MLB.com. Franklin was going to be a key infielder for the John Pawlowski led Auburn Tigers for the 2010 season.
Darren Heitner of The Sports Agent Blog has an excellent article looking at the MLB 2009 draft. He discusses the ability for the 20 unsigned first round picks to come to agreements with their respective clubs before the August 17th deadline. I look at the list and see some similarities in many of the cases as Scott Boras has six unsigned clients in the first round. One of the interesting tidbits in the article is that Tyler Matzek is far from agreeing with the Rockies which opens the possibility that he will likely attend Oregon.