We preach it. We complain about it. We argue about it.
But, what’s funny is we don’t realize how much a small sample size can skew numbers.
95 plate appearances has not only helped fueled the fire with fans and Prince Fielder but it’s also pushed many people from being on the fence on whether or not the Mariners should go and spend the money.
This isn’t to say that Prince Fielder wouldn’t help, I believe he would. The thing you have to ask yourself is to what extent are you willing to pay for that production and is it possible to get that production from another source?
I’m not saying this team has an immediate slugger that is going to put up Fielder like numbers. But, for a moment I want you to take a look at the following line.
That line is the line that Justin Smoak produced this year if you were to remove his July numbers. No, it’s not Prince Fielder type of line. But it’s also not a terrible line at the same time.
We talk a lot about sample sizes and we talk about how not to put stock in a .380 BABIP over 50 or even 100 plate appearances. Well Smoak struggles spanned about all of a 100 PA’s. All the while there was talk about problem with his health and even his mental struggles of losing his father.
I get that it’s been a bit disappointing this year to see the offense to struggle yet again. But to say the Mariners are at a must go out and make a splash, would be a boarderline panic move.
Let’s take a quick look and compare a couple of lines between players.
Of course you can probably tell that “Player B” are the numbers that Justin Smoak posted without July dragging them down. If you can get that, than you probably can gather that “Player A” is Justin Smoak, only with his full season numbers included. Finally, “Player C”, would be Prince Fielder’s first full season.
While I’m more than prepared to agree with anyone that would argue that Justin Smoak most likely won’t ever become the slugger that Prince Fielder is now. However, that’s not to say that I don’t think that Smoak won’t ever become very good hitting first basemen.
I’m still not sold that he won’t be a .270/.350/.450 type of hitter, sitting around .370 wOBA and a 120-130 wRC+. Which is right around 3 – 4 wins above replacement. Putting him around average for a first basemen. All for someone who still has 4 years of club control left. When you compare the start of Smoaks career to that of Prince Fielder and his start at least you can say that Smoak is really close in a couple of perspectives.
I keep comparing Smoak to Prince because that’s who Zduriencik drafted back in 2003 and ultimately that’s who everyone always going to bring up. Atleast until Fielder signs that big contract this off-season.
I think it’s rather silly that a lot of people have “given” up on Justin Smoak. As if he’s done and there is no chance he gets any better. It’s rather ridiculous. Remember when everyone was always commenting about how unbelievable it is that Mike Carp is only 24 and people were ready to give up on him. What everyone should realize is that Justin Smoak is six months his junior.
Justin Smoak is going to get better. This isn’t to say the Mariners should or should not be entertaining Prince Fielder this off-season. That’s another subject entirely on its own. Justin Smoak isn’t the reason for or against Prince Fielder at this point. But, patience still needs to be extended to this very young club.