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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SpectatorDrayer tweets that E-Ram to High Desert to keep him on proper rest schedule to start one of May 7 double header in Oakland. Makeup for the soggy grounds game.8 min 50 sec ago
moethedogYou know what, I would love to see a OF trio (in some configuration) of Saunders/Gillespie/Romero w/Saunders in CF for Friday and Saturday's games, regardless of the handedness of the opposing pitcher. I'm pretty fed up with Almonte right now...so sit him. And Ackley? The last 4 games have been somewhat discouraging, but hopefully the hitting Ackley soon appears. I'm not married to him, however. Or perhaps we get a LH and we sit Smoak with Hart at 1B.39 min 5 sec ago
KingCorranIt'll be interesting to see whose playing time ends up suffering in the wake of Gillespie's arrival. Does this precede a Romero demotion? Are Saunders and Morrison going to be even more limited in their respective opportunities? Or is this the wrench thrown into the gears which finally jars Almonte loose from his 'untouchable, unrestable, Certified Leadoff Guy' status?55 min ago
SABR MattGlad to see Cole Gillespie up. I think he will outhit Saunders/Morrison in the short term. But we shall see.1 hour 8 sec ago
JDDubI knew what you meant for sure Moe, just joking around :) We have quite a few guys that we can't live with in our lineup, but for some reason we can't live without 'em either.2 hours 16 min ago
moethedogRight on, JD. My point was that he can't live there and help us much. Clarity would help, wouldn't it.2 hours 21 min ago
JDDubSure he can Moe, he's been doing it for years! Career ISO 110, he's cranked it up to 127 this season. Ackley has shown a couple little flashes this year of what could be, but not nearly often enough. Mark Kotsay-lite, with more K's. And now we get to enjoy the added bonus of this at a corner outfield slot!2 hours 46 min ago
moethedogAckley with only 2 BB's in his last 67 PA's. I'm also a bit worried about his lack of pop right now. Only one 2B in ten games. he's gone frigid over the last 4 games, which happens. but he can't live as a .280-.330 guy without a truck load of doubles.3 hours 52 min ago
phxterryCan anybody discern a semblence of a plan in bringing Franklin up for the last few days, playing him in RF one day, and then sending him back down to AAA? Maybe GMZ & Lloyd thought the combination of having Franklin go 3 for 20 and having him demonstrate that he can't play the OF added to his trade value.3 hours 54 min ago
moethedogBTW, Spec....Was that Dutton guesstimating or was it based on some contact with the FO?3 hours 58 min ago
moethedogInteresting Spec. That gives the M's 5 pure OF's, plus Bloomquist and Hart who have played out there. If he gets the CF time that Almonte doesn't (if that ever happens) then it would indicate that Saunders is not going to get much time at all, as long as McClendon is the Skip. Gillespie certainly deserves a shot, but I would have thought that moving Almonte down was the move that would predicate Cole's call-up. I would imagine that the move clears some OF space for Franklin in Tacoma, as well. Mostly I would like to see him play 2B/SS down there with a touch of CF. I might think that Gillespie could be used in a platoon with Ackley, but Ackley has no split difference over his career (he just isn't very good against anybody). Or we may see Hart go to 1B vs. LHP with Gillespie/Romero filling DH/RF. But I really hope the move is designed to get Almonte out of the lineup for 5 or 6 days.4 hours 36 min ago
SpectatorReports are that Cole Gillespie will be the guy to come up, so I've bumped by February post on him back up to the front: http://marinerbrainstorm.com/2014/04/24/q-is-cole-gillespie-worth-paying-attention-to/13 hours 3 min ago
moethedogGuys, unless we give Franklin the 3B or SS job there is no real IF role for him. Unless we demote Almonte (which I'm all over) and put Saunders in CF he gives us nothing more than we have in RF (and probably less). He isn't playing 1B and he isn't going to DH over Hart. Where do you want him to play? Barring injury, Cano likely ended the Franklin era in Seattle (If 1/2 a season is an "era?"). I'm a fan, really......but his greatest value to us is in what he brings in return. We've got SS's up the wazzu and DJ about to arrive, remember. I think bringing him in this week was a bad move, because if he struggled (as he did) it may have dinged up his trade value. Send him to Tacoma and bring him back if we get an IF injury or Miller stays lost. And try to trade him for something nice in the meantime.16 hours 22 min ago
MtGrizzlyPineda kicked out a game for having pine tar on his neck.16 hours 45 min ago
JDDubWonder if they'll have Franklin down there playing OF from now on? Hey, maybe he could make it work in CF!17 hours 18 min ago
IcebreakerXLooks like Franklin just got demoted again.17 hours 20 min ago
Gordon GrossNot just a win, but a climbing-out-of-the-grave, walk-off win, AND a day off to process and BREATHE. If the hitters can come back afterward and hit, maybe we've got something. If we'd lost a sweep to the 'Stros after being swept by the Marlins and losing the last three to Texas, I would have started shoveling dirt. Maybe after the weekend we'll get out the shovels again, but right now it sure feels like life in the season. C'mon boys, win another on Friday.18 hours 9 min ago
DaddyOWhat the M's do in the aftermath of this big win may determine the course of this season. Admittedly the win was only against the Astros, sometimes all it takes is a spark to fire up a struggling team. I wouldn't go so far as to predict it, but I can hope.18 hours 43 min ago
moethedogAlmonte report (because I can't resist): Last 13 games: 11-56 w/ 21 K's and 0 BB's. Oh, Blash with a single and two more BB's today. Got to give Young props for gutting it up today, too.18 hours 45 min ago
JDDubInteresting rick! Seager is one of our purest hitters and it was only a matter of time before he busted out. Hit another just foul the other day. Coming into the game 10BB was good, 17K a bit high. He's still not into his prime and maybe some day soon he'll replicate some of his minor league numbers like 300/400/500.18 hours 49 min ago