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7/19/1979 (37 y, 8 m, 4 d)
1997 June Amateur Draft - Round: 2, Pick: 20, Overall: 72, Team: St. Louis Cardinals
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Ankiel appears to have retired, MLB.com reports. (3/5/2014)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
In 2007 and 2008, Ankiel returned to the Majors as a position player and hit like a three true outcomes player without the walks. In 2009, he dropped the home runs, too. Sure, he dealt with injuries, but he was healthy enough to play more games (122) in 2009 than he did in his over-hyped 2008. While his lower HR/FB% in 2009 might be excused by the injuries sapping his power, that wouldn't explain his command of the strike zone as a hitter, rivaling that which he showed as a pitcher. He offered at pitches outside the strike zone a Miguel-Olivo-esque 34.4% of the time in 2009 en route to a .231/.285/.387 free-agent drive.
The Year Ahead:
Some will point to the injuries Ankiel suffered in 2009 as the cause of his collapse, but since he managed to play as many games as he ever has in a season, how much of it was injury and how much of it was just Ankiel? Even in his good year, his only offensive skill was power. Still, if Jose Guillen taught us anything in 2008, it's that the Royals will plug a low-OBP slugger into the middle of their lineup day after day no matter how lousy he is. That has fantasy value, but whatever Ankiel's upside is, it's in home run and RBI totals. Kauffman Stadium deflates his only offensive skill – hitting home runs, and he will be facing better pitchers in the AL. Don't count on more than 120 games, either. Even .245/.295/.420, 17 homers, and 75 RBI might be optimistic. He’s worth a flyer, but don't pay him like a starter. (Matt Klaassen)
The Royals signed Rick Ankiel before the 2010 season hoping that he would return to his pre-2009 form at the plate. While he did avoid the depths of his horrific 2009 season and even increased his walk rate a bit, in other respects he was pretty much the same player. His power was still middling, and not enough to make up for his Mike Jacobs-esque “command” of the strike zone, and his contact rate dipped even further. Oh, yes: he got hurt, too. The Royals somehow managed to make something out of it by making him part of a trade to the Braves, but that shouldn’t matter to fantasy owners. All Ankiel really offered in the past was power potential, and that seems to be fading as well. At 31, don’t go nuts betting on the oft-injured Ankiel’s potential. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
Ankiel spent much of 2010 hurt, swinging at pitches so far out of the zone that they might have been thrown by, um, Rick Ankiel, and impressing people in batting practice. In other words, he was, and remains, Rick Ankiel -- a bench player whom someone will think is a starter.
Slick Rick had another miserable season at the plate in 2011, showing little of the home run power that made him fantasy-worthy during his Cardinals days and taking two trips to the disabled list for a sprained wrist and a strained rib cage muscle. Ankiel batted just .239/.296/.363 and clubbed nine homers in 415 plate appearances, and that was with him enjoying the platoon advantage nearly 80 percent of the time. A free agent at press time, Ankiel’s career prospects are bleak. He’s a platoon bat who shouldn’t see the light of day against lefties, and even that utility is questionable given his injury history and recent lack of power (his ISO has slipped from the low-.200s with St. Louis to just .124 this past year). (David Golebiewski)
The Quick Opinion:
Is it too late to convert back to the mound? It’d be shocking if Ankiel secures regular playing time in 2012. His best-case scenario is being a righty-bopping half of a platoon -- if he can avoid injury and regain his power stroke. Neither of those things is terribly likely.
Ankiel was let go by the Nationals in mid-July and wasn't picked up by any other team. Rumors have cropped up that he might be considering a return to pitching. That would be the perfect ending for the inevitable Disney movie based on his life. (
Perhaps the game’s final six-true-outcome player, Rick Ankiel is either an oddity or an inspiration, depending on how inspired you are by oddities. Sure, the guy was capable of striking out on two pitches by the end of his career, but how many other players can you think of who hit 25 home runs one season and struck out 175 batters in another? None, thanks to that arbitrary demarcation I just put out there for you. Ankiel will get enjoy one more spring training somewhere in 2014, teaching impressionable youngsters how to uppercut. That will probably be the extent of the damage he does in the majors this year, unless he decides to become a pinch-running specialist. (Patrick Dubuque)
The Quick Opinion:
Ankiel is the sort of guy you enjoy seeing in the majors, particularly if he's playing for some other team.
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Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:37 AM ET
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