Image courtesy of: Jamie Engber
In one of the most anticipated roster moves of 2010, the Texas Rangers promoted highly-touted prospect Justin Smoak last Friday. In six games since being called up, the switch-hitting first baseman is 1-for-15 with two runs and one RBI. He does, however, have seven walks.
Despite Smoak’s rough start, fantasy owners should take notice of the 23-year-old’s promotion.
At three different levels in 2009, Smoak hit .290/.410/.443 with 12 HRs and 57 RBI.
According to Baseball America, the 2008 first-round pick has “plus-plus power potential from both sides of the plate. He (also) has a mature, patient approach and the ability to use all fields.”
The Mark Teixeira comparisons are abundant, and for good reason. Smoak was widely considered to be one of the most advanced hitters of the 2008 draft class which featured Pedro Alvarez, Gordon Beckham and Brett Wallace.
As BA put it, Smoak – who was Matt Wieters’ teammate in high school - ”projects as a middle-of-the-order power hitter and has the chance to be a superstar.”
Smoak’s promotion correlated with Chris Davis’ demotion, meaning Smoak should enjoy the bulk of the playing time for the Rangers at first base.
His power potential has yet to fully develop, which may limit his value somewhat in 2010. Given 450 at-bats in this, his rookie season, Smoak could approach 20 bombs in the hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark. He should be owned in most one-year leagues, and is a no-doubter in keeper and dynasty leagues.
If I had to choose between Smoak and fellow recent call-up Ike Davis, Smoak would get the nod. (For more on Davis, click here.) Adjust your fantasy baseball cheat sheets accordingly.
FBI Forecast: 450 at-bats, 60 runs, 17 HRs, 75 RBI, .280 batting average
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