Apr 28, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak (17) gets ready to bat against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Mariners 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
#mariners have discussed sending down talented but struggling young players ackley & smoak. may keep up for now tho— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 11, 2012
It doesn’t sound like the demotions are imminent, as Heyman adds that the Mariners may keep each player "up for now."
Ackley, 24, and Smoak, 25, were each first round selections. Seattle made Ackley the second-overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, while the Texas Rangers selected Smoak 11th-overall in ’08.
Both players have another thing in common; they have each failed to live up to the lofty expectations placed on them as minor leaguers. Each was once considered a top-15 prospect in all of baseball, Ackley as recently as the spring of 2011.
Ackley made his major league debut with the Mariners last season, hitting at a clip of .273/.348/.417 over his 333 at-bats. Things haven’t gone as well for the second baseman this season, as he’s only mustered a line of .233/.311/.325.
The Mariners acquired Smoak in the trade that sent left-hander Cliff Lee to the Rangers. The first baseman hit 15 home runs in 2011, but his career OPS is an unimpressive .672 and he’s only hit at a clip of .203/.265/.332 so far this season.
Should the Mariners demote Ackley and/or Smoak?