Blue Jays: 5 Positive Takeaways from the 2017 Season
Justin Smoak Morphs Into Complete Player
Heading into spring training the general Blue Jays public were ready to ship Justin Smoak off the proverbial island. Nobody could have predicted what the first baseman was going to accomplish during the six months.
Smoak was the most consistent hitter in the Blue Jays lineup all season long as he made his General Manager look like a genius for locking him for two seasons on the cheap in 2016 when the baseball world had lost faith in his abilities as a player. Smoak will earn a below market value $4.125 million next season including a $6 million team option for 2019 which will still be a steal if Smoak can duplicate his offensive output from this season.
The 30-year old enjoyed a career year that included his first All-Star appearance at the mid-summer classic in Miami. Smoak is currently batting .281/.361/.556 with 37 round trippers, only two homers off the AL lead. The native of South Carolina eclipsed his previous career highs in hits, runs batted in and homers to name a few of his offensive bests.
He has solidified his spot for next season as his power surge hushed all the Rowdy Tellez talk especially seeing that Tellez struggled mightily this season with the Triple-A Bisons. Smoak’s 3.3 WAR in 2017 doubled all his previous wins above replacement totals combined.