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« Phil Hughes' Location (briefly) | Main | Jered Weaver Head Hunting »

Ackley Owns the Strike Zone

The Seattle Mariners rank dead last in the American League in runs scored for a third straight season, but no one can blame rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley.

The second overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft began the year at Triple-A Tacoma, where he batted .303/.421/.487 and posted a 55-to-38 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has continued to show superb plate discipline since his big league promotion in mid-June. Ackley has a .312/.377/.565 line in 154 plate appearances, drawing 15 walks and punching out just 20 times.

The key to Ackley's early success has been his willingness to lay off pitches thrown out of the strike zone and his ability to make contact. The 23-year-old exhibits the plate approach of a wise veteran:

 Ackley's swing rate by pitch location

League average swing rate by pitch location

Ackley has chased a little over 18 percent of pitches thrown out of the zone, compared to the 28 percent league average. That's the twelfth-lowest chase rate among MLB batters with 150+ plate appearances.

And when Ackley does swing, he rarely misses:

Ackley's contact rate by pitch location League average contact rate by pitch location

The lefty has missed slightly less than 14 percent of the pitches that he has swung at, well south of the 20 percent league average.

According to Baseball-Reference, Ackley's bat has already produced 12 runs compared to that of an average hitter. The rest of Seattle's hitters have a collective -105 batting runs. Talk about a one man show.

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