Blue Jays: Biggest surprises of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 17: Justin Smoak
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 17: Justin Smoak /
2 of 5
TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 28: Justin Smoak
TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 28: Justin Smoak /

Justin Smoak

Let’s start with the positive side of things before we get into the depressing talk. Justin Smoak has had an incredible season, and I challenge anyone to claim they saw this coming. There was reason to believe he could improve on the numbers he’d put up throughout his career, but I don’t think anyone expected he would be the Blue Jays’ most consistent and productive hitter over the course of season.

Thinking back to spring training, this was a guy who many of us argued the Blue Jays should outright release, and admit the “mistake” they made extending him in last year. It was a bitter pill for Blue Jays’ fans to see him at first base with Encarnacion wearing another jersey, but it honestly was a blessing in disguise for the organization.

He received full time at bats early in the season, and his hot start ensured he stayed in the lineup on a consistent basis. He started the year hitting 6th or 7th in the order with regularity, and now he’s moved right into the heart of the lineup, becoming the most feared hitter on the team outside of a healthy Josh Donaldson.

He’s currently slashing .283/.362/.560 with 37 home runs and 85 RBI in 138 games played. He was named to the All-Star team, and will easily surpass his career highs in every offensive category. He’s earned 3.3 WAR, and did it all for just over four million in salary?

Saw that one coming? Liar.