So, Where is Justin Smoak Right Now?

Triangulation, dept.


Q.  Smoak has an OPS up 'round 1.000 in September and he has the 5:7 EYE, the improved StrSw% rates, and every other number to back it up.  But what does the scouting eye say?

A.  :: blinks :: He suddenly realizes that he hadn't watched a Smoak at-bat since the callup ...

Ran off to eyeball Mr. E=M2Cliff Lee on the DVR.  Whaaaaaaa?  Differn't player here.  And when did he start keeping the top hand on the bat, by the way?  Did he hit the long homers with that swing? ... sho' nuff ... 


Q.  Well, so is it the swing or what?

A.  The swing isn't really the difference.  Well, it's a root cause of the difference, or a parallel cause of the difference at best ...

Wow, Smoak is letting the pitches drive realllly deep on him.  He's looking almost John Olerud'ish up there.  The pitcher lets the ball go, Smoak sort of tilts his head in a little, takes a good loooooonnnnnnng look, and then unleases a sudden, powerful swing starting from a long bat wrap.


Q.  So that would take the ball the other way?

A.  Surprisingly, he's letting the ball get much deeper and ... pulling it better, with more authority.  Here is his wimpy August spray chart and here is his authoritative September spray chart.   Notice too that his groundouts are higher in September as he gets on top of the ball better.   Check it out as he smashes the top half of a high Sheppers 94 fastball for a home run.

He's letting the ball come to him and then he is attacking it.  It's simply the difference between Rocky doing rope-a-dope, taking a beating, vs. his getting mad grrrrrrr and swinging back.  Smoak's longer HR's etc are simply his swinging with bad intentions.

Some things we say represent our personal opinion.  That isn't one of them.  Read between the lines on Wedge's comments and you'll get the same thing, as far as "doing something with it" when he lets the bat go.

Smoak's doing that now.


Q.  So he's ready to hit .358 / .414 / .547 now?

A.  Naaaahhhhh... the funny thing is, when a slider or change or curve comes in there on him, he can't see it.


Q.  Um, what.

A.  He hacks at bendy pitches and misses them by embarrassing margins.  We wondered about it and thought.... hm, okay, he's got his thoughts organized.  He's not confused now.  He has an idea up there.  He knows what he wants and he's going after it.

So why the ugly results on offspeed (in this particular game Sunday)?  Well..... that's what would happen if your pitch recognition were behind.  So we sauntered over to expecting to find that his swings and misses on fastballs were all real good, and that all of his swings and misses were on curves.

That is the case.

It's the case to a radical degree.  In September, he's seen 128 fastballs, swung at 65 of them, and missed the ball a grand total of 6 times.  Amazing.  In contradistinction, he misses 17% of all changeups thrown and 11% of all sliders.  He hasn't put a slider in play in September.  0.0%.  On the other hand, he puts 35% of all fastballs thrown into play.

It's just pitch recognition.


Q.  Leaving him where?

A.  Well, so if this interpretation be true ... Hang on one sec couldja.  



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benihanaMe, I roll with what we have. Give the first third of the season over to figuring out who's sinking and who's swimming, then be ready to make some early power moves well before any deadlines.2 min 17 sec ago
benihanaTaro - there is no reason why the M's have to plan for every scenario right now. They kept all the bullets in their chamber. If Miller or Taylor don't work out fine. Make a move mid-season. Give Marte or DJ or Patrick a shot. Heck, already better than last season the M's are projected to be the BEST team in baseball, we are left with worrying about our back-up outfielder. I love it.4 min 14 sec ago
Gordon GrossDavid Murphy maybe? Aoki and Rasmus are still out there as FAs. but on the trade front I'm drawing a buncha blanks. Help me out here. ;-)7 min 36 sec ago
rick82You know, if I'm Michaels Saunders, I'm pissed, and I'm pissed opening week. Lloyd started the season with a Saunders/Romero platoon. So Michael plays-sits-sits, then when a righty starter shows up for games 4 and 5, he sits-sits so that Logan Morrison can get some time, then doesn't start again until game 6. Soon, we're back to Romero. Yeah, I'm Michael Saunders, and I am the best hitting outfielder on your team. I proved it last season, and I ran into a wall doing so. Now, I look around, and this guy is playing two scrubs from Tacoma and some castoff from Miami. I mean, wtf, in Saunders-speak. Get me out of here. And while we are at it, why is Logan Morrison getting all the playing time down the stretch, when I am still your best clutch hitter - .781 close and late in 2013, and I'm following it up with 1.02 for you this season, coach. Logan has been handed first base, and I get a seat in the doghouse. Bye bye, I am outahere. Love ya, fans! - M.S.9 min 1 sec ago
benihanaGLS - lots of casting about for sure - and G - right on the money with your post as well. Where my disconnect comes from is why is a steamer projection more valuable than the public opinions of management? To me they BOTH appear to be appeals to authority.9 min 17 sec ago
Gordon GrossSo - what are our options for a platoon situation at the moment? We're looking at something like Seth Smith or Venable from the Friars, and... who? Most of the other remaining crowded outfields seem to have excess righties, not lefties. The Braves, Nats and Dodgers seem to have solved their crowding situations (Boston too - with Cespedes gone they're probably fine now). The Reds are apparently willing to move Jay Bruce, but outside of that bandbox I would fear greatly for his production. Not sure where else we'd be looking. Ideas?14 min 25 sec ago
TaroIn the Brad Milller platoon scenario a lot if put on the shoulder of both Miller and Taylor. Neither of them can disappoint for that scenario to work out well. Even if its just someone like Aoki, we need an OF capable of starting.20 min 43 sec ago
DaddyOIn the Brad Miller = RF platoon scenario, an awful lot is being put on the shoulder of Miller to be what we hope he will be, as opposed to what he has demonstrated he is. We were in a strong position to do better this offeason. In midseason 2015 retrospect, perhaps it will look just find; but if not it will be another case of not buying that third bridge to avoid the scenario of A Bridge Too Far.36 min 26 sec ago
DaddyOWhat G said. Captures my feelings perfectly.40 min 27 sec ago
mojicianDerek Norris was the most disgusting Orc that Beane ever spawned. I'm going to enjoy not watching his beard fungus in hi def. He was a natural fan favorite in Oakland. I don't understand it. If you discount aliens, the next explanation is that Beane has been hacked by North Koreans.45 min 48 sec ago
csiemsI can't tell if the A's are rebuilding or retooling--if it's the former, I wonder if the M's could get Coco Crisp cheaply. He'd do well at the top of the order, could platoon for Ruggiano, or take over for Ackley if/when he falters.1 hour 3 min ago
Gordon GrossI'm with you, moe - I like things to make sense to me. And I hate losing deals. As I've said before, I'm pretty positive on Happ so I don't feel like we got robbed... I just hate floundering to replace someone you already had. Jack's got time to sort it out, but if the end answer is "Oh well, I guess it's Miller and Ruggiano" then that won't satisfy me, because it's not satisfying JACK right now. Jack didn't state that Miller/Ruggiano is Plan A - he still wants another outfielder. If he settles because he couldn't get it done, that will feel like the last several offseasons where we knew we needed something instead of "hopefully a kid turns into an All-Star and bails us out."I want the 2015 Mariners motto to read: "We Decided to Stop Settling." Y'know?1 hour 21 min ago
moethedogIndeed I am, GLS. Thinking out loud.....1 hour 30 min ago
Gordon GrossSame thing happened with Fister, GLS - you figure the our people aren't morons, so there's SOME logical explanation. Sometimes smart people do dumb things for weird reasons, and you may never fully know what those reasons are, or be able to understand them.1 hour 32 min ago
MtGrizzlyRe. Saunders, Divish had a comment (paraphrasing) "if you want to be an every day player, you have to respond when your name is called". We may never know what the real issues were but I suspect there is a lot more to this than any of us know.1 hour 35 min ago
GLSRegarding Saunders, I think people are casting about in the dark looking for explanations that make sense to them.1 hour 42 min ago
malcontentMy belief has been that Lloyd and others in the organization were a bit miffed that he went to Colorado to witness the birth of his second child during the playoff race, interrupting his rehab and pushing it back by what ended up being 2 weeks. As much as people blame McClendon for not playing Saunders when he was available, I always thought it was something of a reprimand for not being available earlier.2 hours 42 min ago
benihanaAnd I also believe that Brad Miller beat out Saunders - he's the replacement they already had.3 hours 1 sec ago
benihanaAnd the OKG think is Coach Pete of UW / Boise St. (Yeah, I mentioned Harvin right after... but still) - In college football is basically accepted that you build a program by finding the right fits - not just assembling the best talent. In baseball that idea is taboo.3 hours 1 min ago
benihanaSaunders went outside of the organization and didn't get better. He got hurt. Repeatedly. Which was the ENTIRE point of Dr. Elliot's training program - reducing those types of injuries. And Jack Z has built two playoff contenders in Milwaukee and Seattle and is generally regarded as one of the top talent evaporators in the game. But if y'all want to believe STEAMER ... go for it.. I get it. I just think it's a blindspot to not consider 'fit' when constructing a roster.3 hours 2 min ago