Blue Jays: Five First Base Options If Justin Smoak Struggles

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 24: First baseman Justin Smoak
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 24: First baseman Justin Smoak /
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Yangervis Solarte – Jack of All Trades

Perhaps not the most ideal candidate for the job, there is much reason to believe Yangervis Solarte can be a serviceable major league first baseman. Over the course of his career, Solarte has appeared in 38 career games at first, committing just four errors in over 275 innings. While he spends most of his time at second or third, he’s played first semi-regularly as recently as 2015.

Solarte’s offense is more than acceptable for an everyday player, given he’s slated to play a ton of games this year in some capacity. Last year in San Diego, he slashed a decent .255/.314/.416 with 18 home runs over 128 games. His career batting average sits at .267 and strikes out a measly 11% of his at-bats.

The best part about Solarte in this position is that he’ll already be on the major league roster come Opening Day. Since being acquired from the Padres, Solarte has appeared in 11 spring training contests, mostly playing second base. Although he’ll probably begin 2018 as a bench utility player, he’s most likely to spell off various infielders as the season progresses. It won’t be until a major injury, or a sudden drop off in production that he’ll see regular and consistent playing time.

His consistency at the plate, combined with his athleticism and speed make him an unusually sneaky option to eat some innings on the right side of the infield. While he shouldn’t be the first player to be inserted into the position, he should definitely be considered for the sake of saving a roster spot.