Justin Smoak’s tenure with the Seattle Mariners has been one of hope and teases and disappointment. Smoak, the key piece that came back in return for Cliff Lee from the Texas Rangers, has had a slow start to his MLB career to say the least but the 26-year-old first baseman might finally be putting it together. Of course, Mariners fans have seen this before only to watch Smoak go through long droughts at the plate that can be more depressing than the Seattle weather.
Since the end of April, Smoak is hitting .308/.411/.533 in just under 150 plate appearances. He is hitting .267/.369/.419 with seven home runs and 17 RBI on the season. He has had six multi-hit games since June 18th, a span of 16 games. His average jumped from .257 to .267 after going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI on July 8th in an 11-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.
Obviously, having a productive Smoak would go a long way in helping the Mariners who have been getting the short end of some recent trades. Smoak and catcher Jesus Montero were supposed to help propel the Mariners offense for the next decade. That has not come to fruition as of yet.
Last season, Smoak hit .217/.290/.364 with 19 home runs and 51 RBI and struck out 111 times in 483 at-bats. The strikeouts remain but Smoak has been hitting the ball more consistently and four of his 11 doubles on the season have come in the month of July.
If Smoak is finally living up to the potential he showed when he was a prospect he might actually help save GM Jack Zduriencik’s job. Now, if only Dustin Ackley and Montero would start living up to their potential the Mariners might actually be a playoff contender next season.