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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Blue Jays
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Jason Leblebijian – Underated Journeyman

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Even though he’s never played a major league game, Jason Leblebijian, a member of the Blue Jays minor league system since 2012, seems to be gaining a cult following among the Blue Jays faithful. Originally selected in the 25th round of the 2012 draft, Leblebijian has appeared in over 550 games for New Hampshire, Dunedin, Buffalo, Lansing and Bluefield, starting games at shortstop, second base, third base, first base and left field.

For obvious reasons, many fans have wondered why the Illinois native of Lebanese and Armenian descent hasn’t gotten the call yet. In his best year, he slashed .294/.361/.436 playing mostly for New Hampshire in 2016. In 2017, he slashed .258/.323/.405 for Buffalo.

His incredible versatility and his abundant major league options make him an enticing under the radar candidate for the spot. As of now, there’s not too much information about the front office’s plans for Leblebijian. He was invited to spring training and currently is projected by Roster Resource to score a cup of coffee with the big club in 2018.

Defensively, Leblebijian has been great in the field, appearing in over 200 innings committing just 2 errors at first. It’s unlikely he’ll make it to the bigs this season, but the Jays would be making a mistake by not considering him as a September call-up when the time comes.

Next: Donaldson's behind the eight-ball this spring

When it’s all said and done, we all hope Justin Smoak continues to obliterate baseballs for another year, and all the above analysis is purely for fun. Even with cautious optimism, it’s always good to have options, and the Jays certainly have several options at first.