#4 – The competition at first base
After a career year, Chris Colabello established himself as an offensive force for the Blue Jays. The easy-swinging first baseman found himself at the center of the Jays attack in the 2015 playoffs after starting the season in the minors.
Colabello started the season red hot in Buffalo and continued to swing it the entire season after he was promoted to the Blue Jays. He would finish the season with a stellar .321 batting average while scoring 55 runs, collecting 54 RBI, 19 doubles, and 15 homers. This was all done over 101 games and at multiple positions.
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Justin Smoak, his main competition, is your typical power first baseman that has a solid glove and clobbers the ball. Him being a switch hitter provides some extra versatility, as well.
Smoak would mash 18 homers for the Jays and drive in 59 RBI last season. The former top prospect is a plus defender and that is one reason he got some ample playing time in 2015. While his power remains very impressive, he was held to a .226 batting average and an rough .299 on-base percentage. What stands out for Smoak is the slugging percentage that reached a nice .470.
This often means that Smoak is swinging for the fences every time he steps into the plate. This all-or-nothing attitude typically leads to a high strikeout rate, and did again for Smoak. He collected 86 strikeouts in 132 games.
So who takes the majority of the at-bats in this platoon this season? Colabello gives you a solid bat with adequate power and defense. Smoak gives you raw power and a good glove but a low batting average.
Regardless of who wins out at the end, either player should be good for double digit homers and 50 RBIs. One edge that Colabello has in this equation is that he may come with a better on-base tool than Smoak while still offering pop. Colabello also ran away with the job near the end of the season and in the playoffs. Does he pick up where he left off or does Smoak’s swing hard in case you hit it philosophy win out?
Next: #3: Marco....POLO!