As you probably already know, the Mariners sent down Justin Smoak earlier this week in hopes that he will figure things out at the plate. So here I watched his first 12 at-bats in Tacoma and gave a short summary of each one of them
Against Jorge Reyes, who was throwing about 89 MPH. At-bat 1: Smoak took an outside pitch, took one down the middle, and then took another one outside (All fastballs). Smoak then got a fastball up high, maybe in the zone, but swung late and hit a pop-up foul but the catcher couldn’t catch it. A fastball low and away was weakly popped up foul to 3rd base for an out.
Still against Reyes (so still batting left handed). At-bat 2: After taking a pitch outside, a pitch down the middle was hit hard on a line to left field for a single.
Same matchup for At-bat 3: Smoak took a slider for a strike on the low outside corner. He took a high fastball and then a low fastball before chasing a high breaking ball and fouling it off. Then Smoak took a low inside breaking ball before taking a low breaking ball for a walk.
This time he faced Cody Burns, another righty for At-bat 4: The at-bat started with Smoak taking an outside ball, followed by a take of a low and outside ball. Burns then threw a strike on the low and outside corner. Smoak swung and missed at an off-speed pitch at 80 MPH low and away. A curveball down the middle was taken by Smoak for a strikeout.
Against Matt Palmer for At-bat 5: The first pitch was low and away taken, followed by an outside curve taken, and an outside and high fastball taken. Palmer finally threw a strike on a low breaking pitch. It was just a wasted pitch though as an outside moving fastball was ball 4.
Against Palmer again. At-bat 6: Smoak took an outside fastball, and a low breaking ball in the low part of the strikezone. He took an inside pitch for a strike and then almost swung at a breaking ball in the dirt but checked his swing. He fouled off a breaking pitch on the outside part of zone. A close outside curve was taken by Smoak to make it a full count. The at-bat ended when Palmer threw a high inside fastball that wasn’t close for a walk.
Still against Palmer: At-bat 7: Smoak took a low breaking ball and then hit a weak grounder to 2nd.
Against Brad Boxberger: At-bat 8: Smoak took the low fastball, and then a low and away change at 79 MPH. Another low fastball by Boxberger was taken, but he finally threw a fastball in the inside part of the zone for strike 1. Smoak hit a high fastball foul and then swung and missed at a low pitch out of the zone inside.
Against lefty Colt Hynes. At-bat 9: Smoak took a high and away fastball before he swung at a fastball on the outside corner and popped out to first for about a 45 foot shot.
Against Hynes again. At-bat 10: After a low pitch in the dirt before he got a high outside fastball similar to the one he got the previous inning. This time, he hit it hard in the gap between the center fielder and right fielder. He stretched it into a double just barely (and probably with the help of PCL umpiring).
Against Hynes. At-bat 11: A high fastball was inside for a called strike. Another high fastball was swung at and hit foul. A low fastball was hit up the middle by Smoak on the ground for a single.
Against right hander Erik Hamren. At-bat 12: First pitch swinging, Smoak crushed a ball on a line drive up the middle but unfortunately the shortstop caught it.
Overall, pitchers weren’t really interested in throwing Smoak strikes. He hit a couple balls hard in that short period as well. In AAA Smoak is nearly treated as a god, while in the Majors he just wasn’t very good. It sort of shows the difference between AAA and the Major Leagues. He also made a lot of mistakes at the plate, swung at a couple pitches he shouldn’t have but also hit weakly some balls he should have hit hard. He didn’t look like he was too good for AAA, but he didn’t look terrible either, we will simply need to see more at-bats from Smoak in AAA.