Seattle picks pave way for Javelinas
Ackley, Triunfel combine for eight RBIs in slugfest win
In an offensive battle between Peoria's two Arizona Fall League teams, a pair of Mariners prospects emerged as the heroes.
Dustin Ackley -- the No. 2 pick in this year's Draft -- collected four hits, three RBIs and three runs scored and Carlos Triunfel delivered five RBIs and two runs as the duel turned into Tuesday's raging slugfest. The Javelinas, who trailed 10-4 after three innings, eventually outlasted the Saguaros in a 24-15 victory.
Triunfel, the No. 9 hitter, and leadoff man Ackley became a costly 1-2 punch. Ackley started the AFL season slowly, but has played five games in the last six days and raised his average to .323.
"I definitely think [regular playing time] helps. You are able to see the ball more and get the timing," said Ackley, who was faced with the unfamiliar experience of spending time on the bench due to the Javelinas' overflow of outfielders.
"From the way I started out and played through the whole Fall League, I definitely feel a lot better [now]," Ackley said. "And once you see these pitchers a couple times and kind of get a couple at-bats, you get more comfortable."
Triunfel's performance was just as impressive, considering the Dominican Republic native's lack of at-bats.
The 19-year-old missed most of 2009 after breaking his fibula and tearing ankle ligaments on his left leg in his team's second game of the season. Triunfel made his AFL debut Oct. 29 and is hitting.233 in 11 games.
"To come back and be hitting like he is doing right now, I'm sure no one expected for him to be doing this," Ackley said. "It's pretty spectacular."
Spectacular, in fact, is a word often used to describe Ackley, who instantly became the Mariners top prospect after signing a deal in mid-August that reportedly is up to $9.5 million over five years.
A standout at the University of North Carolina, Ackley led the Tar Heels to their fourth straight College World Series this season, batting .412 with 22 home runs and 70 RBIs. He holds school records for most hits (338), most runs scored (225) and total bases (535). He is projected by scouts to be a power threat and a big league All-Star, as well as a player who doesn't require a lot of seasoning.
If Ackley has any preference as to where he starts the 2010 season, the 21-year-old isn't willing to share. He says the topic didn't even come up in the brief talk he had with general manager Jack Zduriencik when the Mariners' brass came to town this week, so supposition about him starting off at Double-A West Tenn remains just that.
If his month-long stint in the AFL is any indication, Ackley's future in a Mariners uniform isn't too far away.
But Ackley and Triunfel weren't the only ones smacking the ball Tuesday.
"Our whole team was contributing," Ackley said of the "ridiculous" production top to bottom. "We had 23 hits. You can't have just two guys doing it, and it was pretty unbelievable to see."
Taylor Green (Brewers) delivered a three-run homer and an RBI double and scored twice, Brent Mora amassed four hits, three RBIs and three runs and (White Sox) and fellow Chicago prospect Jordan Danks added three hits, three RBIs and two runs in the win. Starter Travis Schlichting (Dodgers) gave up three runs on three hits in one inning and Scot Drucker (Tigers) and Anthony Varvaro (Mariners) didn't fare much better, getting tagged for a combined 10 runs on nine hits in 2 1/2 frames.
Pirates prospect Eric Kreb (2-0) recorded two outs in the fourth inning to pick up the win, while Josh Fields (Royals) and Andrew Oliver (Tigers) tossed scoreless fifth and sixth frames respectively.
Rangers prospect Doug Hogan blasted a three-run homer on a five-RBI afternoon and Carlos Rivero (Indians) went 3-for-6 with four RBIs and scored twice for the Saguaros.
Saguaros starter Zach Putnam (Indians) gave up six runs on eight hits in 2 1/2 innings Mike DeMark (Padres) allowed five runs on five hits in the fifth inning to suffer his first loss.
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.