So, Where is Justin Smoak Right Now?

Triangulation, dept.

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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 ... 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 TexasLeaguers.com 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.

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Q.  Leaving him where?

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

NEXT

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rick82It does feel that way, but let's see what happens in the next two days. If we steal a game tomorrow, and Felix dominates, we may be feeling different.10 hours 47 min ago
Gordon GrossWe'll see. It's a bad week to have a bad week, but nobody's running away with the 2nd wildcard. We have offensive and pitching reinforcements. We'll see if and how we deploy them, but this is where a manager has to pull the right strings and get a lil lucky. We haven't been lucky the last week. Give it a minute to see if that continues.10 hours 48 min ago
SABR Mattwe are about to swoon out of the race IMHO10 hours 57 min ago
GLSLove to see the M's go after Hammel in the offseason.14 hours 6 min ago
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IcebreakerXThe good ship is on fire...15 hours 46 min ago
rick82Grand Slam Quintero should be activated immediately to put fear in the hearts of the Orcs!18 hours 42 min ago
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rick82So nice to see our consolation prize draft pick salvage the weekend of Stasburg, Harper and Rendon.21 hours 11 min ago
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rick82I've taken my grandson to watch 18 innings this week, in which we scored a grand total of 1 run. The problem remains the offense. And last night...James Jones to the rescue? Where's Romero, the guy who's tearing apart AAA? Heck, Ty Kelly, for that matter.1 day 18 hours ago
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GLSWhy is our pitching staff getting worn down as opposed to other teams? Have our starters pitched more innings relative to the rest of the league?2 days 16 hours ago
MtGrizzlyFelix does tend to wear down in September. Troubling implications for October, should they get there.2 days 22 hours ago