Maybe Dustin Ackley should just take the month of April off.
When there's still a chill in the air, Ackley has hit .182/.315/.271. But once May rolls around, Ackley is hitting .304/.401/.482 the rest of the season. The Triple-A Tacoma second baseman added to those impressive numbers this weekend, going 5-for-12 with a triple, home run and five walks. Since his slow start this year, Ackley is again showing the bat control and on-base ability that made the Mariners draft him with the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft.
But there is something else he's starting to show. Ackley is slugging over .600 in June, after slugging .605 in May. He hadn't slugged above .451 in any previous month in his short pro career, and that was one of the big questions remaining about him. No one expected him to slug over .600 in the big leagues or anything, but if his projected 45 power turned into plus power, it will go a long way toward making him an impact big leaguer.
Ackley's call-up may not be too far away. But the Mariners have made it clear that it will come at second base, even if left field is a gaping hole for the Mariners.
HARP ON CARP: Speaking of left field for the Mariners, Mike Carp is doing everything possible to get a shot at the position. More of a first baseman through much of his career, the 24-year-old is playing left field almost exclusively for Tacoma. He went 8-for-15 this weekend with two more home runs, giving him 17 on the season. He currently is working on a 21-game hit streak and is hitting .478 in June.
As good as Carp's numbers have been, he appears set to stay in Tacoma for a while longer. The Mariners' promoted Greg Halman this weekend to play some center field and left.
WELL-NAMED BATS: On most nights, the Louisville Bats field a lineup of blocked Reds prospects. At first base or in left field, first baseman Yonder Alonso is adding to his nearly 600 Triple-A at-bats, but he's stuck behind Joey Votto. At third base, Juan Francisco has over 500 Triple-A at-bats himself, but he's stuck with Scott Rolen in Cincinnati. Shortstop Zack Cozart hit 17 home runs and stole 30 bases in Louisville last year, but with Paul Janish and Edgar Renteria in the majors, he's back to add to his 650-plus Triple-A at-bats. Left fielder/third baseman/first baseman Todd Frazier finished the 2009 season in Louisville, spent all of 2010 there, and it back for a third go-round, but he also doesn't have a clear path to the big leagues.
But the best of the group may be catcher Devin Mesoraco. Unlike many of his teammates, this is Mesoraco's first full season in Triple-A after his breakout 2010 season saw him jump from high Class A to Triple-A in one year. Anyone questioning whether Mesoraco's breakthrough last year was for real should check out this year's numbers: .322/.410/.537. They are right in line with last year's outstanding season, and he's done it while leading the International League in games caught.
This weekend, Mesoraco was especially productive, going 7-for-12 with four doubles, a home run and eight RBIs as the Bats extended their current winning streak to seven games. Mesoraco got plenty of help—Francisco hit three doubles on Sunday and Cozart was 7-for-14 himself.
NO MINOR FEAT: The Braves are likely to promote lefthander Mike Minor to start for the big league club this upcoming weekend against Houston. Nothing in Sunday's start would dissuade the Braves from promoting him. Minor carried a perfect game into the seventh for Triple-A Gwinnett. He ended up allowing one hit and one walk in eight innings of work.
Minor told the Gwinnett Daily Post that he's been working on throwing a slurvier breaking ball that seemed effective on Sunday.
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