Who would have thought that at the end of April, Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar would be the Jays best hitters. But here we are, and Pillar is the Jays’ leadoff hitter, and a good leadoff hitter at that, while Smoak is hitting off-speed pitches and has four home runs already.
It is hard to project baseball prospects, look no further than Justin Smoak. Smoak was once considered a can’t miss prospect. Now Justin Smoak after going through multiple teams, looks like he is finally adjusting to big league pitching with his bat and finally connecting with off-speed pitches.
In Saturday’s win, Smoak had two singles off Rays’ starter Matt Andriese on off-speed pitches, a good sign for Smoak. And to top it all of, Smoak hit a home run, although off a fastball.
Now the question remains if Smoak can continue to hit off-speed pitches, then he can quickly turn that bad contract into a good one. Smoak can be another offensive weapon to the Jays lineup which definitely needs it. Currently through April 30 Smoak is hitting .273 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI.
As for Pillar, he has asserted himself in the leadoff spot, while many thought he was going to be a bottom of the order bat. Pillar got the chance to leadoff because of the slump Devon Travis is in. Gibbons decision to put Pillar in the leadoff spot has been a good one.
So far all Pillar has done is hit, which should set up our middle of the order guys, but unfortunately they have been slow in getting their bats going. Pillar currently has a batting average of .301 and an OPS of .844, good numbers for your leadoff hitter. He’s even taken 5 walks after being stuck at 1 for most of the month.
If the Jays are going to turn this around they need contributions from everyone not just Smoak and Pillar but it is a good getting them going.