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Blue Jays mid-term report card: Grade Justin Smoak’s first half

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

So an easy one.

Justin Smoak.....if any of us had been running the team, would have been released long ago. But, then if the front office listened to fans, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion would both have been released long before they became stars too.

We should have learnt our lesson by now.

Smoak, like a lot of top prospects, got many many chances to show why he was a top prospect Back when it was the, very tiring, Smoak/Colabello debate, I often said that there was a reason scouts loved Smoak. It’s paid off, at least for the first half of this could all change, but he’s going to hit 6th in tomorrow’s All-Star game

Anyway, he’s having a great season, hitting .294/.360/.575 with 23 home runs. He has a 144 wRC+. He’s brought down his strikeout rate, 19.2%, down from 32.8 last year. And he’s hitting the ball up the middle more than in the past. Last year 28.3% of the time he hit the ball up the middle, this year 38.8.

He’s slow.....very slow, which is something you’ll have to live with, if you want his bat.

I like him on defense, being a big guy, he can reach most throws, he seems good at scooping low throws. I guess my only real complaint is that he sometimes makes the wrong decisions about whether to go get a ball or leave it for his pitcher and stay at the bag. He’s not going to have great range but he seems to make the plays.

We have him signed for next year, and hold a team option for 2019, which, if he continues to hit anything like he’s hitting now, will be a pretty easy decision for the front office.


For the first half, I’d give Justin Smoak an

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