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Justin Smoak Newsbeat

Monday, July 10, 2017

MLB’s All-Surprise Team

First Base: Justin Smoak, Blue Jays
First base has the fiercest competition for the “most surprising” honor, but Smoak, who carried a below-average bat for nearly 3,000 plate appearances before this year, has the slightest edge over his peers. The switch-hitting Blue Jay has already set a career high in homers (23). He’s chopped his strikeout rate almost in half from last season. He’s increased his career WAR from 0.2 to 2.4. He’s navigated the common career path from top prospect to traded-for-an-ace top prospect to failed top prospect, only to buck the trend by breaking out half a decade later. A below-replacement-level player in 2016, Smoak would now need to make outs in his next 140 at-bats for his 2017 slugging percentage to fall to his pre-2017 career mark.


 

 

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