Back in 2009, the year after they had stupidly won their final three games and slid down from the top pick in the draft to the number two pick, the Mariners weren't overly concerned about Dustin Ackley as the "consolation" to Stephen Strasburg. And really, they still should be happy that they at least picked second that year.
Consider that Donavan Tate was the third pick, followed by Tony Sanchez and Matt Hobgood. Zack Wheeler went next, but there have been a myriad of disappointments at the top of the 2009 draft, from Tyler Matzek to Aaron Crow (as a reliever instead of a starter), Grant Greene, and a long list of names that haven't reached the majors yet and probably never will. Think about this: Ackley's career 6.9 baseball-reference WAR is second-best of anyone drafted in the first round year to Mike Trout.
More than the 6.0 WAR of Strasburg, even if there's a significant playing time gap there.
Seattle's 2009 draft was supposed to mark the turnaround for a franchise that has struggled to build a farm system for over a decade, and Ackley has not been as good as advertised. Yet, the turnaround based on 2009 is still very much alive even if Ackley stays right where he is. The Mariners were hoping that Ackley would be a perennial .300/.400/.450 hitter by now but that's not what has happened.
Instead, they have Kyle Seager; Ackley's teammate at North Carolina that the Mariners drafted in the third round that year, the "maybe he could be a "super utility" type player" hitter who is hitting .283/.353/.464 this season. In a way, the M's drafted the player that they were seeking that season, but it just so happens that it wasn't Dustin Ackley. The MLB Amateur Draft is so hit-and-miss that really just getting Seager and Ackley would be enough to call it a "good draft" but it doesn't stop there.
James Jones, Brian Moran (a 30:3 K:BB ratio in Tacoma right now as a reliever), James Gilheeney, Vinnie Catricala, Andrew Carraway, and Anthony Vazquez have all had some sort of accomplishments in their careers. Not all will make the majors -- Catricala isn't good anymore, Vazquez might not have ever been but he did make it to Seattle -- but it has been a fruitful draft. Even with Ackley as a disappointment and catcher Steve Baron and first baseman Rich Poythress not developing as hoped. Most of that success centers around Seager as a potential All-Star, but it might not stop there.
Two picks after Trout, the Mariners selected high school shortstop Nick Franklin. Perhaps the biggest get for Seattle that year.
If you're reading this, then you probably have already read before that Franklin needs a promotion. You're here because you like the Mariners or are really into winning your fantasy baseball league, so there's little else for me to add to the conversation. The Seattle Times recently said it. Lookout Landing recently said it. Everyone knows it.
Yesterday, Franklin hit a go-ahead home run in extra innings to lead the Rainiers to a win. He's hitting .346/.462/.538 with 4 HR, 16 RBI, 23 BB/16 K, 5 SB, 8 2B, 17.7% BB, 12.3% K, .381 BABIP and .192 ISOP.
Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan, for as amazing as he is defensively, is hitting .122/.198/.122 in 93 plate appearances. He was replaced by Robert Andino, who is hitting .159/.221/.206 in 70 plate appearances. Seattle's production from the shortstop position is quite literally one of the worst outputs from any one position on any one team in baseball. Yet they also have one of the best hitting shortstop prospects in the world. Franklin may struggle when he's first called up, but to do worse than what the M's are already getting would be quite impossible. He might need to work on defense, he might need days off, but he certainly can't stay in Tacoma for much longer.
Ackley is pretty terrible right now, but his career is far from over. Fellow 2009 draftee Nick Franklin's is just about to begin. Now might be the last time you can "buy low" and that time has probably passed already too. It could be worth a shot though.