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Spring Training Stats: 5 G, .462/.500/.923, 4 XBH (1 HR), 6 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
ADP (Overall/Position): CBS (N/R), ESPN* (260/24)
It was only two years ago that Dustin Ackley was viewed as a terrific second base option with significant upside, but now the 26-year-old finds himself an afterthought in the outfield, where fantasy owners have no shortage of established talent to choose from.
Ackley's fall from grace in fantasy circles is completely justified, given his .236 batting average and .637 OPS over the past two seasons, bouncing around the field—and lineup—on a frequent basis.
But he showed up to spring training with a new swing and approach at the plate—and a fresh start under new manager Lloyd McClendon, who plans on putting Ackley in left field and keeping him there, as he explained to MLB.com's Greg Johns: "This is a very talented young man. I think our challenge is to get him in one place and leave him there and let him flourish."
Ackley believes that being locked into a position will not only put him at ease in the field, but at the plate as well, where the work he put in this winter has resulted in an impressive start to the exhibition season:
Everybody wants to be in one spot and know where they're going to be every day. That's what I want. I want to play every day, I want to be in the same spot and not here and there and all over the place and not really know what I'm doing. So that's my goal this camp, to win a spot and stay there. I think that's probably everybody's goal here.
You can't argue with the results so far this spring, as he's making solid contact and spraying the ball to all fields. "I'm letting the ball get deep, I'm hitting the pitches where they need to be hit," Ackley told Johns.
"That's as good a sign as I need right now. I didn't expect to be this far along, but I'm excited about it and am just going to try to keep it going."
Given the plethora of outfield options that fantasy owners have, Ackley doesn't figure to be anything more than a late-round flier in most drafts. But his stock is quickly rising, and the days of him going undrafted are disappearing just as quickly.
*Ackley is listed as a second baseman in ESPN leagues, but he won't see any time at the position in 2014 with Robinson Cano now in Seattle.