Things got pretty hectic around here over the last 10 minutes with scouting director Tom McNamara and GM Jack Zduriencik speaking to the media and Dustin Ackley speaking over a conference call.
First lets get to McNamara, who I think enjoys briefings with the press about as much as getting a root canal with no novacaine.
He personally saw Ackley play centerfield on a couple different occasions.
“We’re pretty comfortable with his athleticism and things he can do and the things he’ll be able to do,” McNamara said.
They are projecting him as a centefielder, but they said if he had to left field, the Mariners would be fine with it.
As for the Tommy John surgery, McNamara didn’t seem concerned.
“Like any other player that comes back from surgery, we just scouted him as much as possible, midway through the season we were pretty excited labeling Dustin as our guy,” McNamara said.
About a month ago, McNamara thought Ackley was the guy for the Mariners.
“I’d say about a month ago, I started feeling pretty good, there were a couple guys out there were in the mix, but he kind of stood out for us,” McNamara said. “When bring your GM to a game, you’re pretty much making a statement.”
As for shortstop Nicholas Franklin, he’s a switch hitter, and McNamara noted he went to the same high school – Lake Brantley as Jason Varitek, Felipe Lopez and Rickie Weeks.
“There’s a term in basketball called a gym rat, well Franklin is a baseball rat,” McNamara said. “He’s a confident player with a lot of ability and we’re excited to have him.”
Jack Zduriencik was next on the podium and said, “For Tom’s first draft, I’m very proud of what he accomplished. We’re fortunate to get a guy who we think has a sweet swing. You see a lot of these guys that can hit for a high average and run over the years. We think this guy has the potential to be a middle of the lineup hitter that can get on base and hit for average.”
Zduriencik saw him play as a freshman and saw him this year at the Boston College series.
“All of our scouts are pretty comfortable with the fact that the transition is going to be pretty easy.”
“This is a player that we think can move up pretty quick. All the things you want to see as a hitter, he possesses those natural abilities.”
As for Franklin Zduriencik said: “We were really hoping we would get a chance to get a middle infielder. This is a guy they targeted and we’re very happy he was there.”
The conference call with Dustin Ackley was interesting since most of the callers were seated next to each other talking on the phone to him.
“To be the Mariners first overall exciting,” he said.
When asked about playing in the same outfield that Junior and Ichiro played in.
“That’s crazy to think that I’m following in their footsteps, but I’m excited to take on that role,” he said.
As for his preference of outfield positions, he was open.
“I’ve played all of them, if I had to play one of them, I’d probably prefer centerfield,” he said.
On the status of his arm
“My arm right now is the best its ever been. I feel like I could play out there every day right now if I had to,” he said.