2011 Fantasy Baseball Profile: Will Justin Smoak Have a Power Surge?

Mar 2, 2011

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Justin Smoak clubbed 62 home runs for the University of South Carolina in 739 at bats, prompting the Texas Rangers to select him with the 11th overall pick in the 2008 amateur draft. He shot through their farm system after just 492 at bats, hitting 17 home runs.
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He earned a trip to the bigs, but struggled to adjust. He hit just .209 for the Rangers. Despite his struggles, he did manage to hit eight HRs in 235 at bats. The 29.4 AB/HR ratio isn’t great, but considering his average and his 57 strikeouts (one every 4.1 ABs), it wasn’t that bad.
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He was then dealt to Seattle. He started off slow for the Mariners going ten for 63 (.159) with two HRs. He was sent to Triple-A Tacoma where he hit .271 with seven HRs in 133 ABs. When he was recalled in September, Smoak did a much better job hitting .340 (17 for 50) with three HRs. His overall numbers with the Mariners .239-11-5-14-0 were terrible at best, but at least  he had a strong finish to build upon for 2011.
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I expect Smoak to enter the year with a little more confidence, assuming he holds his own in Spring Training. The first base position is deep, but he offers a decent choice near the end of fantasy drafts. In fact, his average draft position, according to Mock Draft Central, is 345, meaning he’ll likely go undrafted. You can take a chance on him with one of your last picks, or you can just keep an eye on him. If he starts the season the way he finished, scoop him up. Either way, there isn’t a lot of risk involved. There could be plenty of reward though.
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What are your feelings about Justin Smoak?
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