The future is nigh.
2009 No. 2 overall pick Dustin Ackley will make his major league debut against the Phillies a little over two hours from now. And according to Greg Johns of MLB.com, the 23-year-old second baseman will bat seventh.
I know, I know. While it’s tempting to lose it over Ackley batting seventh, it would be unfair to install him as the No. 2 hitter right out of the gate, especially with Roy Oswalt on the hill for the Phillies. Granted, Oswalt hasn’t been himself lately, but that’s no easy task, even for someone with a polished approach like Ackley. Let’s not cast him as the lineup’s savior.
Ackley had a .421 on-base percentage with Triple-A Tacoma and compiled a ridiculous 117/130 K/BB ratio over 918 plate appearances in the minor leagues, so it won’t be long before he’s the No. 2 hitter behind Ichiro. It might not happen tomorrow or even next week, but it will happen soon enough.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”