Blue Jays Minor League Depth – First Base
May 27, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak (17) fields a ground ball hit by Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick (47) (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
–Justin Smoak– He didn’t start the fire….. Yet
Smoak could be one of those players that show just what a change of scenery can do. After 5 seasons in Seattle he becomes a Blue Jay after being picked up off waivers, non-tendered, and then re-signed by Toronto. Smoak is a powerful switch hitter that has been crushing the ball out of the pitcher friendly Safeco Field in Seattle. Through the 2011-2013 seasons he had hit at least 15 home runs and had 50 RBI’s. His batting average however has never been anything impressive. He has never hit better than a .240 batting average and he is coming off a rough season where he only hit .202. Half of his season last year however was spent in triple A where things looked better. There he hit .337 with 7 home runs and 40 RBI’s in the 56 games. Look for Smoak to come into spring training and attempt to impress. If he does and moves north with the club look for his pop to cause many balls to fly out of the launch pad that is Rogers Centre.
Toronto Blue Jays
Dean is ranked the 19th prospect on the top 20 list and is a totally raw power hitter. I think he is going to hit more hard line drives then home runs, but as he settles into his new swing more lift may develop. Dean has played some third base but it appears that his defense is more suited for first base. His talents could make him a plus defender at first where he would only be an average third baseman. I would expect him to start in Dunedin this year but would not be surprised if his bat is the talk of the town. He has a great approach at the plate and appears to be a doubles machine in the making.