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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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?3 hours 6 min ago
MtGrizzlyFelix does tend to wear down in September. Troubling implications for October, should they get there.9 hours 5 min ago
SABR MattA shame that homer by Seager in the first didn't stay fair.20 hours 20 min ago
Bat571LaRoche WAS FRAMED ! (very nicely by Zunino - nice job, Mike!)20 hours 30 min ago
SABR MattI am reminded of 2007. The whole pitching staff looks out of gas. We're in trouble.20 hours 35 min ago
merksRendooon!21 hours 58 min ago
PrairiedogIf indeed the name calling was in any way racist (that is IF) by the scout (based on rumor to this point) he deserves to loose his job. Yes self control on Montero&#039;s part should exist but racial slurs by &quot;one of your own&quot; ,then no excuse whatsoever!&quot; Lets see what all the facts are.23 hours 50 min ago
rick82Two frustrated guys who probably want to be higher up in the system.1 day 1 hour ago
SABR MattYeah...I don't think this says one darned thing about Zduriencik. I think this scout probably had a fight with his wife or found out he didn't get approved for a home loan and vented on a player who he didn't like.1 day 1 hour ago
rick82Seems like a lot of folks think this says something about Jack's dysfunctional regime. But wow, talk about a mountain out of a molehill. They both work for the Mariners? This is simple. You bring the 52 year old scout and the 24 year old prospect into the room, and you talk it out, have them apologize where necessary and shake hands, and make sure something like this doesn't happen again. And, yeah, if the story is true, the scout is taken to a back room by Jack and read the riot act for being an idiot, because he sure as heck is supposed to know better.1 day 1 hour ago
MtGrizzlyWe should probably wait to pass judgement until all the facts come out.1 day 3 hours ago
csiemsButch Baccala, national cross-checker. Here's his story: http://seattletimes.com/html/mariners/2024418207_montero30xml.html and here is a blog he used to run when he was with the Reds (they made him stop): http://baseballthrumyeyes.typepad.com/1 day 5 hours ago
SpectatorBut I don't know what the crosschecker was thinking either. Don't think he's getting paid to be a semi-clever motivator. Just strange all the way around.1 day 5 hours ago
SpectatorI would guess that Montero's long strange trip to Marinerland is done.1 day 6 hours ago
phxterryMontero incident now a news item on ESPN - wonder what Montero's trade value is right now? Who would have ever thunk that the best part of the Montero-Pinada trade for the M's would be Hector Noesi, who has cracked the White Sox rotation and is starting every 5 days.1 day 6 hours ago
csiemsAn M's cross-checker screams vaguely racist taunts at a player and then sends him an ice cream: A) This isn't some nobody, he oversees a region of the US and chances are we've heard of this guy. B) WTF? Fire that guy immediately. I think Montero is justified. C) How low is morale in this organization right now that a staff member is actively rooting against his player? If this is how the organization is run, it's no wonder that the team has developed so few hitters.1 day 7 hours ago
MtGrizzlyWow, Montero. Comedic points to the guy that bought an ice cream sandwich and sent it to him in the dugout.1 day 10 hours ago
Gordon GrossWell , As Cab is a good hitter. Not our hitter, but a decent one.1 day 11 hours ago
Gordon GrossAlso TR, Torres is a nice bonus to squeeze in this ifa season. When the Yankees signed basically everyone and will pay a 15 million dollar fine or whatever for doing so, we got some bodies. Wish we'd gotten more pitching tho. I don't trust 16 year old bats. All our latin success is arms.1 day 11 hours ago
Gordon Grosshttp://m.milb.com/news/article/2014082992025546/montero_restrained_in_altercation_in_boise1 day 11 hours ago