Blue Jays bench players providing some consistency in 2015

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Jul 1, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak (14) rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

#1  –  Justin Smoak

Are we still allowed to consider Smoak a bench player? I’m of the opinion that he should be given at-bats whenever possible, but I can’t pass up an opportunity to praise the powerful switch-hitter. Perhaps it’s my soft spot for the failed prospect, but I’ve been extremely impressed with Smoak both offensively and in the field.

Now boasting a slash line of .246 / .329 / .507, Smoak has produced 9 home runs and 28 RBI in just 155 plate appearances. He’s on pace to move well beyond several career highs and averages, and will prove to be extremely value should Chris Colabello hit a wall in the second half like many expect.

When the Blue Jays had Juan Francisco explode out of the gates last season, they were stuck with his disinterested and ineffective play long after his decline due to a lack of other options. With Encarnacion, Colabello and Smoak, however, John Gibbons has three quality options to fill the 1B and DH roles every night. In turn, this often leaves him with one power bat on the bench that he is able to turn to later in the game.

Smoak was a nice buy-low signing by Anthopoulos, and really, he couldn’t have bought much lower. For $1 million, Smoak is also easy on the wallet and arbitration eligible next season, both of which appeal to management. He’s done everything to earn more trips to the dish in the second half, and if he does, the Summer of Smoak could officially begin.

Next: Is trade brewing with Sanchez's move to bullpen?

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