In the latest edition of the GNUru’s Sexy Pick Alert, we will look at one of the Sexiest young players from 7 years ago. That player is Rick Ankiel. For those GNUru heads who may be too young to remember, Rick Ankiel was once one of the most promising young left-handed pitchers in the game. He quickly became one of the top keeper pitching prospects in the game after his rookie season in which he won 11 games, with a 3.50 ERA while striking out 194 in just 175 innings. However, all Ankiel’s promise came crashing down as he was thrust into the pressure of the playoffs. Ankiel lost his control as evidenced by his record 5 wild pitches in 1 inning of Game 1 of the 2000 NLCS. Ankiel would never be the same.
Today, Ankiel once again can be categorized as a Sexy Pick, though this time, as a hitter. In 2005 Ankiel decided switch to the outfield. As a pitcher Ankiel was always a decent hitter and had displayed flashed of power. In 2005 Ankiel showed some promise as a hitter batting .259 with 21 homers and 75 RBI in 85 games. After missing the 2006 season with a knee injury, Rick has built upon his progress showing some impressive power. In 102 games this season, Rick hit 32 homers, drove in 89, and hit a respectable .267.
Although the Rick Ankiel saga is one of those heart-warming, feel-good stories that make you want to root for the 27 year old, Ankiel is still far from making a fantasy baseball splash. Ankiel still has to work on his plate discipline and he has a propensity to whiff too often. Also, with Juan Encarnacion, Chris Duncan, and Jim Edmonds likely getting the majority of the playing time in the Cardinal outfield, Ankiel will be relegated to pinch hitting and late inning substitution duty. Should one of the above players succumb to an injury Ankiel immediately becomes an intriguing pickup based on his power potential.
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