Manager Lloyd McClendon has said Justin Smoak is the Mariners first baseman. Does that mean joy in Mudville?
In Smoak’s first nine games he is 7-21 (.333) with 3 doubles, a homer, and 4 rbi’s. I am sure part of the reason is that he is a switch hitter and they need hitters from the right side when facing lefties. McCelndon would like to see Smoak have 40-45 doubles and 20-25 homers. The home run numbers are withing reach as he had a career high 20 last season, but he has never came close to 40 doubles, his high being 24 in 2011. McClendon is overly optimistic about a career .227 hitter and has fallen prey to everyone who watches Smoak in spring or goes on a hot streak in between his droughts.
In case Mariner fans have forgotten last spring Smoak batted .407 with 5 homers and 15 rbis. Everyone expected a great year where he would live up his advanced billing. But he hit .238 and despite the 20 homers had only 50 rbis. I hope for the best, but I have seen this every year and by now, as the saying goes, you are what you are. And Smoak is what he is and not what people think he is.
Spring Training is a chimera, the numbers meaningless. Consider Jesus Montero whose awesome spring of 2013 saw a .400 average with 2 homers and 11 rbis. He hit so poorly and was so bad as catcher he was sent to Tacoma to learn how to play first base, then was suspended for PEDS. He hit .208, 3 homers, 9 rbis with Seattle And it has been reported he came to training camp 40 pounds overweight.
Another example is Mike Morse who hit .357 with 9 homers and 15 rbis. Everyone envisioned 30-35 home runs, but he played himself out of Seattle, ending up in Baltimore and now is in San Francisco’s camp. Morse hit .226 with 13 home runs and 27 rbis with Seattle.
One more. Jason Bay .321, 2 home runs, 6 rbis and during regular season .204, 11 home runs, 20 rbis and was released.
Of those four who had great camps, three did not finish the season with Seattle. I call it Smoak ball-hits in spring, not in summer-because by summer the Smoak has cleared.
My e-book has no Smoak nor smoke. http://www.amazon.com/Loonies-Dugout-Terry-Nelson-ebook/dp/B00EEN7YNA/ref=la_B00EEVHN38_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394520850&sr=1-1