Blue Jays: Putting Spring Training in the rear view
Mar 28, 2015; Bradenton, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first basemenJustin Smoak
(14) prepares to hit in the batting cage before the start of the spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
In years past 1st base had been occupied by such stars as Fred McGriff, John Olerud, Carlos Delgado, Adam Lind (star might be a stretch), and Edwin Encarnacion.
Adam Lind is gone.
Edwin prefers to DH.
Enter Daric Barton, Justin Smoak, and Danny Valencia to compete for a starting gig.
Edwin wasn’t health; therefore, didn’t get his reps. Justin Smoak and Daric Barton struggled and showed little power. Both players have the reputation of having a good approach at the plate which they demonstrated throughout the spring.
Barton- .341 OBP
Smoak- .350 OBP
Justin Smoak has what it takes to become an All-Star, but will need to find a way to make more consistent contact. He is the best fielding 1st baseman on the roster, he has plus power, and with consistent at-bats he could walk over 60 times. Smoak is the right choice to bring north. He doesn’t need to hit .300. He doesn’t need to hit 40 home runs. He doesn’t even need to walk 100 times. We have guys that’ll do that. All Smoak needs to do this year is not be Juan Francisco and give away at-bats.
The job may not be Smoak’s on September 1st, but he will be until a better option presents itself.