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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MtGrizzly@RyanDivish: There will be no changes to McClendon's coaching staff for 201518 min 4 sec ago
DaddyOOne thing I find interesting will be whether McClendon gets much input on who is sought, and whether he is able to help the M's discriminate effectively between potential adds.28 min 39 sec ago
DaddyOGuess not. I'm fine with that so long as what we get is an upgrade. In my book, history shows there is usually a discrepancy between what Jack Zduriencik wants and what he gets (Cano being the lone exception). Hopefully things will go better this offseason than years past.31 min 7 sec ago
rick82Interesting they included 1B in the list. I guess they aren't just going to hand the job to LoMo.42 min 25 sec ago
DaddyOMore from the article. "McClendon said he would like to add two hitters and have a more formidable lineup in the Nos. 3-6 spots of his batting order. Two of those spots will be filled by All-Stars Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. " Hm. Sounds like what M's fans have been seeking for a decade but never getting. Has the front office got religion?47 min 9 sec ago
DaddyOWell, according to Z and McClendon today, BSR might be onto something. . "After narrowly missing the postseason, the Seattle Mariners say they will raise payroll in 2015 and aggressively pursue offense during the offseason...Zduriencik said the most likely positions where offense would be added are the corner outfield spots, designated hitter and first base."48 min 57 sec ago
MtGrizzlyI hope your are right, bsr.2 hours 23 min ago
bsrI just think put it all together, there will be enough money and confidence to support a nice payroll bump. Given the cash flow constraints of our ownership situation, it may well come in stages - get up to ~$115M initially, with some reserve to spend midseason if attendance hits projections.3 hours 47 sec ago
bsrMy $120-130M payroll is a gut feeling based on a number of factors. I know that betting the under on predicting M's payroll would have been a winning bet the past few years, but I believe (hope) this year will be different. They spent $117M in 2008 with attendance of 2.3M. That is a reasonable 2015 attendance projection even for the bean counters who run this team. Since 2008, they've added a lot of TV revenue to the pot. This team has a good core to build on in Felix-Cano-Seager-Zunino-Pax/Taijuan-bullpen of death, and is a "safe" bet to invest in (unlike the fluky 2009 team). Any improvement likely means playoffs. Mather said earlier this year they'd like to reach the playoffs "4 of the next 5 years" - the 1 is down, so it's time for the 4 to start :) WAR cost what, $6M? M's need ~+5 WAR so that is +$30M, $130M total. As I've analyzed before, $130M is the minimum payroll required to build around 2 massive contracts like the M's have.3 hours 1 min ago
DaddyONote to KC for tonight's game... (bear with the ad that precedes the video) hours 43 min ago
rick82We don't have a Big Papi, but Jesus could be our Big Sloppy5 hours 54 min ago
rick82For the right side, let's hope for a growth between the ears and a shrinkage around the gut and thighs of one Jesus Montero. Versus lefties, the dude has a lifetime batting average of .318 and OPS of .827. That would help take the sting away when Pineda is dominating the AL East next season.5 hours 55 min ago
rick82But holy cow, Seager: .300 BA and .893 OPS in Safeco for 2014. That's real star territory there. We need to get more of that from our lefties. Looking at you LoMo, Ackley, Saunders, Miller.6 hours 1 min ago
rick82Actually, take that back. Just spitballing, but Joyce is redundant with Ackley and Saunders around.6 hours 3 min ago
rick82Saunders and JJ is veteran grit plenty for the bench. And bsr, the slugging for Cano in Safeco is interesting. Seager was a monster at Safeco, slugging .523 in 2014. We just need to locate and sign more hitters like him. I would like to pry Matt Joyce from Tampa.6 hours 9 min ago
MtGrizzlyWishful thinking, Matt. I've seen that same number posted every off season.7 hours 32 min ago
MtGrizzlyThat would be my bench, Bat. Saunders, JJ, Taylor and Sucre. But I'll bet that Lloyd will want some veteran grit there.7 hours 37 min ago
SABR MattWhere did this 120-130 million payroll come from? I'll believe it when I see it.7 hours 42 min ago
Bat571So, in late innings, behind by just a run or two, they decide to walk LoMo - put in JJ and let him drive the pitcher nuts like we've seen he can do. He may not be the big OF bat we need, but he could be quite the weapon off the bench if he can play any of the OF spots plus 1B. Ignoring Willie Bloomquist for the moment, a bench of Saunders, Taylor, and JJ, would be quite the quiver of weapons.17 hours 44 min ago
Bat571I bet Miller, Taylor, and JJ all get reps at other positions next spring. I can understand that JJs speed is wasted if he's a 1B like he was in college, but if he's a bench guy anyway, then put him there when you need to to get him on base in late innings. And his size and athleticism are in Olerud's class. So, bye Smoak and Morales - LoMo and JJ will do just fine - and we still have Willie and Ackley if need be.17 hours 56 min ago