I do think changing positions can affect a player on offense, for the exact reason mentioned before: reps. Players only spend so much of their time at the clubhouse, or getting ready for games. Either they are comfortable defensively and don't need too much time to get ready, or they need to spend a little more time learning a new position with defensive play reps to re-train their brain and build instincts. If they are still in the boat of spending extra time learning a new position, often times that means less time in the batting cage.
If its a younger player, that time in the cage is very valuable. Its where you take your "bumps and bruises" from previous games, against good pitching, and you try to work on your adjustments... learn how to recognize that slider better, or lay off the outside change, etc. When you're young, and new to the majors, or with Ackley he was altogether new to pro baseball (when he took up 2B), damn near every AB can give you something to work on in the cages (experiencing different pitchers, different stuff, different pitches/locations). But if you're dedicating 2 or 3 times as much time in the field to learn a new defensive position, well, that's less time in the cage... that, or you spend twice as much time as every other player at the clubhouse (which I never heard of him doing).
Now this DOES translate to mental stress when you simply don't feel prepared to step into the batter's box. You don't get enough reps in the cage in warmups/practice to work on the small stuff, and try and make those very important small adjustments, and build some consistency. So you don't feel adequately prepared.
Thing is, Ackley NOW should be fine on his defensive learning curve, and need less time warming up. That should mean more time in the cage working on his swing, or whatever its deemed he needs to do. So yeah, I think his bat should start to come around more. He's just a couple years behind in the overall development we might have been expecting.
The other entirely possible scenario, however, could be that his struggles have gotten him in a rut. We won't know until we're into the season 2 or 3 months, but if he's struggling at the plate out there, its when I start to conclude that he's in a rut and simply needs a change of pace and place. I mean if a guy, with so many internal and external high expectations, struggles for as long as he has, its not hard to foresee a collapse in confidence... i.e. the rut. I'm not saying this will be the case, because I think he can/will improve on last year. But I'm saying its possible, and a scenario we should be prepared for. Especially since we're strong with 2B depth. Right now we're scratching our heads on our third outfielder... and that's assuming Guti stays healthy.
I agree, I just dont think another move will help. He has been playing 2nd for years now. I do not think he can just jump back to the OF without any work.
He is comfortable at 2nd obviously, so I see another move helping at all.
I just think if he's honestly kind of in a rut, and needs someone (Wedge) to force a change of pace/place to get him out of the rut, then LF is the obvious choice since he played there pretty much his whole life before we drafted him.
Sickel's top 20 for the Mariners should come out tomorrow, but here's his preliminary breakdown just to wet our appetites...
Two Grade A-
Three Grade B+
Three Grade B
Two Grade B-
11 Grade C+
13 Grade C
For comparison, last year Sickels gave us:
One A (Montero)
Lots of honorable mentions...
This is a huge upgrade over last year's rankings, which as it was put us between #4-7 overall in the majors.
To digest the changes, beyond Montero graduating, he upgraded four B- specs to B/B+, upgraded a bunch of C/less to C+, and likewise upgraded a bunch of honorable mentions to C status. Not too shabby!
Just looking into some of the OF specs, and I have a feeling 2013 is the year Julio Morban breaks out and turns into one of our next "top specs"...
Zunino's gonna have his uncle Tony break Sickels' legs if he doesn't get an A.
Here's the ungraded list Sickels had yesterday... this has a reported 51 players, from which he cut it down to 42 for the link above a few posts back.
Brad Miller is one of my favorite prospects. A second round pick out of Clemson in 2011, Miller has a fast bat from the left side. He makes contact, controls the strike zone very well, and shows more power potential than most middle infielders. His numbers in the Cal League were not an illusionary a result of High Desert, and he continued raking after being promoted to Double-A (wRC+ 151, OPS 24 percent, SEC .326 in the Southern League). If anything, people are still underestimating his bat. Miller also has better-than-average speed and is an effective stealer. His main problem is defense. He has sufficient range and arm strength to handle shortstop, but remains error-prone on routine plays, particularly throws. He showed some improvement with this late in the year, and if I were the Mariners I’d leave him at shortstop as long as possible. Even if he moves to second base, Miller’s hitting skills make him a premium property. Grade B.
His organization prospect depth rankings obviously are not done yet (we're not his last team to do), but as it stands, with his point valuation per grade, we're tied for 8th with 58... lost 10 points with Montero graduating... :(
Shows ya how much we're always overlooked. Aww **** seattle, I'll do them last. Nobody cares.
CM did you see that he still hasn't done a bunch of players including Franklin and Capps?