Rotoprofessor Roundtable: Dustin Ackley or Jason Kipnis?

Who would you rather own, Jason Kipnis or Dustin Ackley?  It’s an interesting debate between two of the best and brightest young second baseman in the sport.   There’s no arguing that both have tremendous upsides, but let’s see who the Rotoprofessor staff prefers:

Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
I think most people, on the surface, want to believe Dustin Ackley is the better choice both for 2012 and the future.  Ackley was the second overall selection in the 2010 draft, while Kipnis was a second round pick (63rd overall) in 2009.  All people here about how good Ackley can be and maybe that helps to skew people’s opinions, which can be seen in their current ADP (Ackley is going significantly higher).

That said I stand firmly behind Kipnis, who I think can post similar stats to Ben Zobrist.  It has nothing to do with Kipnis’ power outburst upon reaching the Majors, because I don’t buy into it (20.6% HR/FB).  However, he went 12/12 in just 343 AB in Triple-A (International League).  Is it a stretch to think that he could go 20/20, hitting towards the top of a solid offensive team?  He’s shown both power and speed potential since being drafted and in college, so why shouldn’t we expect him to continue it.

With Ackley you get a potentially great average, but he has yet to show excessive power or speed at any level (16 HR, 17 SB in 772 minor league AB).  Considering how poor of an offense the Mariners will march out there, does it really matter that he can get on base?  As a potential one-category performer, what exactly is there to like?

Simon Jones
For me it’s Kipnis. In a lot of ways Ackley is and will be the better ballplayer. He’ll have better plate discipline, strikeout less and draw more walks. He’ll probably be a steadier player too. However, in the short term at least, there just isn’t enough to like about Ackley’s fantasy numbers. Being stuck in Seattle, both in terms of the ballpark and the lineup, will harm him.

Kipnis will probably be more inconsistent, but I can’t ignore that I can see him going 15+/15+, rather than Ackley going 10+/10+. I also see Kipnis being at least as good as Ackley in the other counting stats. I think that Kipnis carries more risk. He’s got less seasoning in the majors and the power/speed combo that he showed across AAA and the Majors in 2011 wasn’t present in prior years. However, I think that in fantasy terms at least, he promises a much better 2012 than Ackley.

Sean Agranov
Dustin Ackley and Jason Kipnis are the two hot young names at the second base position this year.  It has been almost universally agreed that the younger Ackley has a slightly higher ceiling in the long term over Kipnis.   Both have the capability of hitting over 20 home runs with 15 to 20 stolen bases.   Ackley is generally figured to bat closer to .300  while Kipnis will be closer to .285, but neither is a slouch and both should be considered mid to upper tier choices for the second base and middle infielder slots in your drafts.

However for 2012, Ackley is going anywhere from 15 to 60 picks higher than Kipnis in most early drafts.  This, coupled with the fact that Ackley is a year younger with lesser developed power than Kipnis, makes Kipnis the obvious choice to target over Ackley for this year.  Based on most 2012 projections you will get at least  six more home runs from Kipnis due to the age difference in their developing power.  So why spend an 11th round draft choice on when Ackley (currently with a ADP of 136) when you can get Kipnis in the 13th (and his current ADP of 165).  Advantage Kipnis for 2012.

Will Overton
Most sites you’ll find online have these two guys very close together and they will likely be linked in the fantasy world for most of their careers. Dustin Ackley is ranked slightly higher in most places and on Mock Draft Central he is going around 30 picks higher. I personally have taken to liking Kipnis slightly more than Ackley though.

The two guys put up very similar numbers last season between the minors and majors, though Ackley spent more time in the big leagues. Ackley is the better contact hitter and has a better eye, thus I trust his average much more. However, Kipnis showed the potential to hit in the high .200’s through his minor league career. Kipnis does have the better power numbers with 14% better HR/FB rate last season. If he gets the ball off the ground more he is a much safer bet for 20 HRs. The two have also put up very similar steals totals and should continue to match each other in that category.

Also, Kipnis has the better team around him which will help his run and RBI totals. He also plays in a much more hitter friendly park. The two guys should put up similar numbers over their careers, but I like Kipnis’ potential and setup for immediate production.

Thomas Callahan
Kipnis burst onto the scene like a flat tire last year, getting everyone’s attention enough to make them stand around scratching their heads. After hitting the minors (which is illegal in most states) in 2009 he went .272 with a curious 7 homers and 5 steals in 136 AB. The year before in AAA his slash line was 65-12-55-.280-12 in 333 AB. The tools seem legit.

Dustin Ackley got his training wheels in 2010 as the second overall pick. Last year, after only a year in the minors, he hit .273 with 6 homers and 6 steals in 333 at bats.  A nice audition for a 22-year old.

Though Ackley’s clearly got the pedigree, I’d tap Kipnis for three reasons:

  1. He’s shown steady success against steadily increasing competition.
  2. He’ll be cheaper than Ackley.
  3. He should be hitting second in last year’s 16th ranked lineup (Ackley’ll be hitting second in last year’s 28th ranked lineup).

They have such similar skill sets; my ranking comes down to location and draft value.

Jason Kipnis by a lugnut.

Conclusion
The first Roundtable of 2012 is a clean sweep in favor of Jason Kipnis!  That should give a clear indication to people what you want to consider on draft day.

Does anyone disagree?

***** Order the Rotoprofessor 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, complete with updates from January through the start of the season, for just $6! As an added bonus, if you purchase by 3/15 you will be entered to win a Michael Pineda autographed baseball! To place your order click here. *****

Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings:

5 comments

  1. jmax says:

    Sean you say both Ackley & Kipnis have 20+ HR potential. That’s the highest projection I’ve seen for Ackley. He had 6 bombs in 333 AB’s in the minors. I know he was only 22 but does that translate into 20+ potential at Safeco?? Is that a longterm projection??? Like when he’s 30??

    • Nick Tenaglia says:

      I agree with jmax that Ackley will never be a 20 HR guy…. I think he is going to be in the mold of a Neil Walker type, whereby he will score a good number of Runs/RBIs with a high average, but his HRs are going to be in the teens, at best – although he should get more than 20 SBs per season, which Walker won’t do

  2. Nick Tenaglia says:

    If I may, I would like to provide some feedback on this “Round table” article. First off, I love articles like this where a group of bloggers all pontificate on a topic, so keep it up. But in the future, can each of you keep it to just one paragraph? Or if it will be more than one, could you please highlight the talking points in bold?

    I am an avid reader of Rotoprofessor and many other MLB websites, but even I got a little bored by the time I got to the end of the article. That isn’t to say that what you wrote was boring – I rather appreciate all of your opinions. But I have noticed on other sites, when there is a round-table discussion, the writers usually keep it pretty concise.

    Simon,
    I think you should also do a Rountable article for the Trade Counsel Fantasy League. I know you said you wanted to highlight trades each week. So maybe you can have each participant in the highlighted trades speak as to why he made the deal, and you can offer the Rotoprofessor.com ‘official opinion’ on the deal as a whole….. Just a thought

    • SimonJ says:

      I blame the others. I kept my opinions down to 11 lines!!!!

      I’d considered the idea actually. We’ll have to see how it pans out and whether I have room for everything in each week’s column. Alternatively I might make reference to a deal each week and then devote a column a month to a detailed breakdown of what’s been happening in the TCFL.

      • jmax says:

        BAHHH!!! I say if you want to write then write!! Sorry Nick. If I didn’t want to read everything you guys had to say I just wouldn’t read it. I have trouble saying what I need to say in a condensed fashion.

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