I take this not-paying-actual-money job way too seriously. If I tell you a guy is a 2011 fantasy baseball sleeper, it could mean anywhere from he’s not even worth drafting in 12 team leagues to he’s a nice name to look in the 10th round of 10 team leagues that could give you 5th round value. With that said, I don’t want to tell you to go after Mariner hitters. I really don’t. Be aware that it pains me. It hurts me soul, Lupe Fiasco. But here we are — you, me and Justin Smoak. He arrived on the scene when the Rangers could no longer handle watching Bill James sob every time Chris Davis walked to plate and back to the dugout after 3 pitches. Smoak had Ranger fans no longer asking, “Where’d Davis go and all his strikeouts?” Instead, he had them asking, “Who’s this new guy that strikes out just as much?” Tis true, boo. Smoak was just as frustrating and didn’t get much better when he was traded to the Mariners. So what can we expect of Justin Smoak for 2011 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
There’s a reason Smoak was a 1st round draft pick. Doode’s talented. In 625 ABs in the minor leagues, he had a .404 OBP. Last year, he was crazy unlucky (.255 BABIP), which I’m speculating made him less patient since he’s young and that caused his OBP (.307) to evaporate in the majors. It should return. I’m not convinced Smoak will hit more than 20 homers in Safeco next year, which puts him on my sleeper radar for just a corner infidel spot. What if Smoak gets, say, 595 ABs next year and puts up a line of 77/15/78/.318? That would be terrible, right? Yeah, that was Billy Butler’s line in 2010. The same Billy Butler I’ve seen drafted in the 5th round of a mock draft. Smoak should have a lower average than Butler, but he’ll beat or be right there with Butler in all other categories. Say 75/22/90/.275 with upside across the board. Oh, and for what it’s Wuertz, after he was recalled by the M’s in September, he hit .340 and 3 homers in his final 50 ABs of the year as the lost Smoak Monster found himself.