Dustin Ackley, first baseman/outfielder from the University of North Carolina.
Two picks into the draft, and everything’s going as expected. The number one selection was, naturally, Stephen Strasburg, who went to the Washington Nationals.
Ackley is the first three-time All-American baseball player in UNC history, and a possible five-tool player. He can hit for average (batted over .400 for UNC this year), has the potential to hit for power, has good speed, and plays good defense in center field. His arm is a question after surgery in 2008, which is why he shifted to first base in 2009.
If I had to compare Ackley to any player in recent MLB history, based on everything I’ve seen and heard about him, it would have to be Darin Erstad.
Like Erstad, Ackley is a left-handed bat that can hit for high average and can run a bit on the basepaths.
Like Erstad, Ackley has experience at first base and center field.
Like Erstad, Ackley is a guy of medium build who has the potential to hit for power, but is probably more of a singles and doubles type of player.
I know what you’re thinking. Darin Erstad? We got a Darin Erstad clone with the second overall pick? And yeah, Erstad isn’t exactly a sexy name, but the draft is a total crapshoot and Erstad was a hell of a player for much of the past ten years. If Ackley can become an impact player like Erstad, you have to appreciate that. And keep in mind, Erstad himself was a number one pick back in 1995, when he was selected first overall by the California Angels.
So now we wait and see.