Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak is making his All-Star game debut this season, and he more than deserved it. Coming into the final week of voting, Smoak trailed Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals by a slim margin. By the time Sunday rolled around the good citizens of Canada had done their job.
Smoak is having a career year after platooning with Edwin Encarnacion over at first for the past two seasons. Now that Encarnacion is gone the first base job was Smoak’s to lose, and he’s taken it and run with it.
Smoak finished the month of June with a .333 batting average and 1.083 OPS. Overall Smoak is hitting .302 on the year with 22 home runs and 52 RBI’s. His 22 home runs are currently tied for the most by a switch-hitter before the All-Star break since Mark Teixeira did it in 2015.
As a switch hitter, he has to be able to be productive from both sides of the plate. Especially from the right side. This season Smoak is hitting .400 with a 1.120 OPS.
Smoak has made vast improvements at the plate. More specifically when he’s behind in the count. He does his best work in a 1-2 count. He’s hitting .308 with a 1.051 OPS. On the first pitch, he’s hitting .438 with five home runs and 11 RBI’s.
The numbers for Smoak have been putting up are either already career highs or he’s on pace to set a career-high. His 52 RBI’s are only seven short of his career high set back in 2015. He’s already recorded a career high in home runs, and he’s on pace to set new highs in hits, runs, doubles and he’s going to shatter his previous OPS high of .768 also set back in 2015.