Justin Smoak
Justin Smoak
33-Year-Old First Baseman1B
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2020 Fantasy Outlook
After his long-awaited breakout in 2017, Smoak took steps backward in 2018 and 2019. He trimmed his K-rate back down last season, from 26.3% to 21.2%, while lifting his walk rate to a career-high 15.8%. Smoak's barrel rate held steady, as did his average exit velocity. Despite all that, Smoak saw his BA sink more than 30 points all the way down to .208, the second-lowest mark among hitters with 450 PA. His xBA was .245, 23 points higher than his xBA from 2018. The production never manifested on the field, however, and with Smoak heading toward free agency, the Blue Jays gave at-bats to younger players at Smoak's expense. Now 32 and with 6.2 fWAR in 1,250 career games, the switch-hitting Smoak had to settle for a one-year deal with Milwaukee. The landing spot keeps Smoak in the mix as a low-cost corner or utility option in deep leagues, but he will likely be a part-time player from this point forward. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#411
ADP
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$Signed a one-year contract with the Giants in September of 2020. Released by the Giants in September of 2020.
Moves on from San Francisco
1BFree Agent  
September 23, 2020
The Giants released Smoak on Wednesday.
ANALYSIS
Though Smoak wasn't picked up by another team after the Giants exposed him to waivers earlier in the week, the organization didn't have interest in keeping around in its 60-man roster pool with the regular season nearing its end. Smoak will wrap up a disappointing 2020 campaign with a .176/.250/.361 slash line across 132 plate appearances between the Brewers and Giants. The 33-year-old first baseman will likely have to settle for a minor-league contract this winter if he wants to keep his career going in 2021.
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Batting Stats
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2019
2018
2017
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
15
7
3
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
3
3
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2018
 
 
+21%
OPS vs RHP
2020
 
 
+34%
OPS vs RHP
2019
 
 
+17%
OPS vs RHP
2018
 
 
+26%
OPS vs RHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2018vs Left .667 372 26 8 36 0 .224 .317 .350
Since 2018vs Right .805 854 109 44 117 0 .219 .344 .461
2020vs Left .481 26 1 0 2 0 .167 .231 .250
2020vs Right .644 106 13 5 13 0 .179 .255 .389
2019vs Left .672 154 14 3 16 0 .220 .331 .341
2019vs Right .783 346 40 19 45 0 .202 .347 .436
2018vs Left .688 192 11 5 18 0 .235 .318 .371
2018vs Right .867 402 56 20 59 0 .245 .366 .501
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2018
 
 
+1%
OPS on Road
2020
 
 
+20%
OPS on Road
2019
 
 
+7%
OPS at Home
2018
 
 
+5%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2018Home .759 636 74 25 73 0 .222 .341 .418
Since 2018Away .765 590 61 27 80 0 .219 .331 .434
2020Home .548 56 6 1 5 0 .180 .268 .280
2020Away .657 76 8 4 10 0 .174 .237 .420
2019Home .772 271 32 13 30 0 .211 .351 .422
2019Away .719 229 22 9 31 0 .204 .332 .387
2018Home .787 309 36 11 38 0 .240 .346 .441
2018Away .830 285 31 14 39 0 .244 .354 .475
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Stat Review
How does Justin Smoak compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity and Barrels/PA % are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 400 PA) and Hard Hit Rate is benchmarked against last season's data (min 400 PA). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • BB/K
    Walk to strikeout ratio
  • BB Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a walk.
  • K Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a strikeout.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.
  • ISO
    Isolated Power. Slugging percentage minus batting average. A computation used to measure a batter's raw power.
  • AVG
    Batting average. Hits divided by at bats.
  • OBP
    On Base Percentage. A measure of how often a batters reaches base. Roughly equal to number of times on base divided by plate appearances.
  • SLG
    Slugging Percentage. A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats.
  • OPS
    On base plus slugging. THe sum of a batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • wOBA
    Weighted on-base average. Measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Hard Hit Rate
    A measure of contact quality from Sports Info Solutions. This stat explains what percentage of batted balls were hit hard vs. medium or soft.
  • Barrels/PA
    The percentage of plate appearances where a batter had a batted ball classified as a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
BB/K
0.24
 
BB Rate
7.6%
 
K Rate
31.8%
 
BABIP
.219
 
ISO
.185
 
AVG
.176
 
OBP
.250
 
SLG
.361
 
OPS
.611
 
wOBA
.271
 
Exit Velocity
82.2 mph
 
Hard Hit Rate
44.9%
 
Barrels/PA
2.3%
 
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Batted Ball Stats
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Stats Vs Upcoming Pitchers
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Justin Smoak
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
13 days ago
The regular season may be winding down, but the free-agent situation remains busy and Jan Levine discusses plenty of worthy NL candidates.
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
20 days ago
Can Carter Kieboom start hitting in the majors? Jan Levine examines his case along with a number of new NL arrivals.
Dream11 Fantasy Baseball: Reds at Brewers
30 days ago
Juan Pablo Aravena breaks down Thursday's Reds at Brewers game for Dream11 contests.
Dream11 Fantasy Baseball: Brewers at Pirates
36 days ago
Juan Pablo Aravena breaks down Saturday's Brewers at Pirates game for Dream11 contests.
FanDuel MLB: Thursday Targets
51 days ago
Kevin Payne checks out Thursday's slate and thinks rookie fireballer Nate Pearson has upside against Atlanta's free-swinging lineup.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
Smoak paired an elevated launch angle with his usually solid plate discipline to submit a long-awaited breakout in 2017. While he was a productive hitter on the whole again last season (121 wRC+), most of his success was derived from his 0.53 BB/K rather than maintaining his prior gains in the power department. Smoak lost 13 home runs from his 2017 total, with that decline likely attributable to a 2.2-degree drop in his launch angle and sizable corresponding downturns in his hard-hit and barrel rates. The 32-year-old shouldn't be written off entirely as a rebound candidate for 2019. Another 25-homer, high-OBP/low-average campaign could await Smoak, who had his $8 million option exercised by Toronto in the offseason. That profile is useful enough in real-life terms, but not as much in the fantasy realm.
Smoak, long considered a bust as a first-round pick, went off for a career-high 38 home runs last season, and it's rather difficult to poke holes in his performance. In his age-30 campaign, Smoak trimmed his strikeout rate by more than 11 percentage points (to 20.1 percent) while adding 138 points to his slugging percentage (.529 SLG). As Smoak explained to Travis Sawchik of FanGraphs, he learned to lay off more pitches outside the strike zone -- particularly the curveball -- and was better at making contact with pitches out of the zone when he did swing at them. While Smoak's batting average fell to .241 in the second half, he improved his walk rate considerably after the break (from 9.3 percent to 13.8 percent) while maintaining a strikeout rate right around 20 percent. He hit from both sides of the plate and his home/road splits were marginal. Playing time concerns are justified, but we're buying into Smoak's development as a player.
Smoak looked primed for a big 2016 when platoon-mate Chris Colabello was suspended in April for violating the league's substance abuse policy. However, Smoak couldn't capitalize on the opportunity and found himself regularly sitting on the bench by season's end. He had a strong May (.309 with five homers), but hit just .176 with nine home runs in the other five months combined. The first baseman struggled so much that manager John Gibbons reluctantly moved the defensively-challenged Edwin Encarnacion from DH to an everyday job in the field. Smoak's 32.8 percent strikeout rate was the sixth highest in all of MLB for players with at least 330 plate appearances. Steve Pearce will start against lefties and Rowdy Tellez, one of the Jays' top prospects, could give Smoak a run for his money by midseason.
After a disastrous 2014 season, Smoak found new digs north of the border and put together a strong season. While a sub-.300 on-base percentage is less than ideal, Smoak is an excellent defender at first base and provides a nice platoon bat. Chris Colabello came out of nowhere and finding him at-bats became increasingly difficult due to Smoak’s strong play. Smoak, Colabello and Edwin Encarnacion should split time at first base and designated hitter, though Smoak may end up seeing the shortest end of that stick. His defense and switch-hitting abilities will find him as a late-inning replacement, particularly when Encarnacion is manning first, but is the worst hitter of their three options.
Smoak, the centerpiece of the return package from the Rangers for Cliff Lee in 2010, hit just .224/.309/.380 with 66 homers in parts of five seasons with the Mariners. Seattle finally gave up on him last season, and he was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays in October. He posted a career-low .614 OPS in 80 games with the Mariners in 2014, but he'll at least provide Toronto with some depth and could make a run at semi-regular playing time, with Adam Lind shipped off to Milwaukee in the offseason.
With nearly 2,000 major-league plate appearances, it's probably time to just accept Smoak for what he is –- a streaky, low-average hitter with a bit of power who struggles with contact and can't hit lefties despite switch-hitting. His batting average likely will always be feeble as long as his contract rate remains in the mid-70s (74 percent last season). He has home-run power but last year's .412 slugging percentage was a career high. His hot streaks, such as the one he went on last year after he came off the disabled list, are usually propelled by inflated BABIP and flyball rates that eventually normalize. Sure, he can draw some walks, but he's useless against lefties (.192/.274/.548 last season). Perhaps the Rangers knew what they were doing when they traded him to the Mariners in 2010 for Cliff Lee.
Smoak entered last season needing to prove he was the long-term answer at first base for the Mariners. He spent most of the season, though, just trying to prove he was better than the Mendoza Line. The Mariners finally had enough by late July and sent him to Triple-A with a .189 average. He returned in mid-August with a shortened swing and finished the season with a flourish, hitting .394 with a 1.177 OPS and five homers in his final 18 games. It was an encouraging finish, but it wasn't the only time he got hot last year. In fact, he looked like he had found his swing with a month-long hot streak early in the season only to then slump to a .394 OPS (not a misprint) in the 39 games before his demotion. Ultimately, Smoak did not prove what he needed to last season, and the Mariners appear to have given up on him, acquiring Kendrys Morales to handle the bulk of first-base duty and Mike Morse, who can back up first if needed. Smoak is headed back to Triple-A if he isn't traded.
After a promising start to the season, Smoak's 2011 turned rocky by early summer. He struggled through July, watching his average drop nearly 50 points from its late-June high of .264. He played only three games in August because of separate injuries. And all that came after his father passed away earlier in the year. Instead of solidifying his spot in the middle of the lineup, Smoak still has questions to answer. The Mariners are in the market for more power, but if they sign a first baseman, Smoak likely would be kept around as the DH. Either way, Smoak has something to prove in 2012.
Smoak was the centerpiece of the Cliff Lee deal last season, heading to Seattle with the opportunity to be a middle-of-the-order power bat and first baseman for the foreseeable future. He struggled at times with Texas after his callup, and then the Mariners sent him to Triple-A after a .439 OPS in 16 games. He returned in mid-September and warmed up over the final 10 games with 15 hits, three doubles, three homers, nine RBI and seven walks. If he can carry that over to 2011, he'll be in fine shape. If not, he'll have plenty of time to figure things out as he has first base all to himself.
Smoak struggled at Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting just .244/.363/.360 in 197 at-bats following a decent showing at Double-A Frisco (.326/.450/.483 in 178 at-bats). He continues to show an excellent batting eye, drawing 52 walks and fanning just 55 times in 375 at-bats on the season. The lack of power is a tad troubling, though we'll give him another go at Triple-A Oklahoma City before we get too concerned. Where he fits in behind Chris Davis once he arrives in Texas will largely depend on how each player progresses over the next 12-18 months.
Smoak draw comparisons to Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira after being a first-round pick in June, and his brief pro debut (.304/.355/.518 in 56 at-bats) at Low-A Clinton was solid after agreeing to terms right at the deadline in early August. His AFL campaign was solid as well, and he should see time at Double-A Frisco by year's end. Where he fits long-term with Chris Davis at first base remains to be seen, but it's a nice problem to have.
More Fantasy News
Designated for assignment
1BSan Francisco Giants  
September 21, 2020
Smoak was designated for assignment by the Giants on Monday, Amy Gutierrez of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.
ANALYSIS
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Active for Thursday's game
1BSan Francisco Giants  
September 10, 2020
Smoak was activated by the Giants prior to Thursday's game in San Diego, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
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Lands in San Francisco
1BSan Francisco Giants  
September 9, 2020
Smoak agreed to a minor-league contract with the Giants on Wednesday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
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Cut loose by Milwaukee
1BFree Agent  
September 7, 2020
The Brewers released Smoak on Sunday.
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Designated for assigment
1BMilwaukee Brewers  
September 3, 2020
Smoak was designated for assignment Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
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