The Toronto Blue Jays first base debate that raged on for an entire offseason has been silenced in the first month thanks to the resurgence of Justin Smoak’s bat and that his successor Rowdy Tellez managed to stumble out of the gate in Triple-A.
Justin Smoak was a marked man all offseason with every prognosticator, self-proclaimed experts, and fans of the sport calling for the free-swingers dismissal following his uninspiring 2016 campaign. Myself included, I have penned an article or two pleading for the Blue Jays to upgrade the position.
After a start to the season where we can only hope that “April Showers bring May Flowers” and by flowers I mean Wins and lots of them. Smoak has been surprisingly one of the few positives after the team’s dismal start to the 2017 campaign.
The 30-year old has .274/.308/.521 slash line with 20 hits and 4 home runs in 73 at-bats thus far. More promising than the stat line is the slugger is shooting balls to all fields and taking what the pitcher is giving him rather than the pull-happy version we witnessed in 2016.
Smoak is still swinging and missing having whiffed 17 times while only offsetting that total with 4 walks but he at least he has earned the right to play and deserves to be in the skipper’s lineup each and every night.
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On the contrary, the man everyone in Canada was ready to anoint as his replacement in spring training and faltered and is struggling mightily at the worst possible time.
Rowdy Tellez was tabbed as the next can’t miss prospect and was first in the pecking order to get a sniff at a starting job should Smoak falter.
Tellez is batting .191 with 13 hits and 3 home runs in 68 at-bats for the Buffalo Bisons. The lefty is batting 0.45 versus southpaws and only .175 in the home confines of Coca-Cola Field.
So all is not lost and Tellez will undoubtedly rebound from his slow start but it does prove he still has flaws in his game and could benefit from some seasoning in Buffalo before being thrust into the starting job with the big club. There is no on the job training in the show, you either produce or you’re gone.
Just when you think you have it all figured out, the ebbs and flow of baseball throw you a curveball. Maybe that extension Smoak signed last season isn’t so bad after all.