Originally posted on Full Spectrum Baseball  |  Last updated 2/19/12

It is the middle of your draft. You have to fill the rest of your roster spots.  You’re 30 seconds away from making your choice. The clock ticks down and you see Justin Smoak, first baseman for the Seattle Mariners.  Should you draft him?  He had a rough year, but got really hot at the end of the season.  The clock hits zero. You’re up.  What do you do?

Smoak only played 223 games over the past two seasons, but to his credit he had several issues he had to contend with in 2011.  In August of 2011, he was hit in the face by a Jarrod Saltalamacchia line drive.  Earlier that month, he had bruised his thumb after an Oakland A’s ground ball took a bad hop and ultimately hit him in the chest.   And let’s not forget earlier in the season. An unexplained slide in OPS was revealed to be another thumb injury by mid-July.

When a player is surrounded by freak accidents and he doesn’t tell his coaches about an injury until three months into a slump, this guy is more of a head case than Josh Hamilton and Carl Pavano combined.  I’m not coming out of left field with this.  Hear me out.

Signs do point to Smoak having more of a mental, as opposed to physical, issue.  Look at Smoak’s OPS at the beginning of the season.  It was a whopping .920.  However, three months later, it was .420.  Smoak did finally pull it together at the end of the season.  All of his numbers were up, including a batting average of .301.  Sadly, most of Smoak’s issues correspond to the loss of his father early in the season.  ”That was with me all year,” says Smoak. An immense loss like that can mess with someone mentally and in turn physically.

Here’s the point. The Mariners traded Cliff Lee for Justin Smoak and not Jesus Montero. He’s 25 years old.  He’s got a lot of baseball left in him.  He’s got a good swing for Safeco field.   The kid has talent.  We saw it in brief flashes early and late last season.

The question is can Justin Smoak do this on a consistent basis?  The Mariners right now are taking the gamble. They’re putting all their chips behind Justin Smoak and letting it ride.  Regardless of his rough start, Justin Smoak will be the Mariners starting first baseman in 2012.

So, should Justin Smoak be your choice on Draft Day?  Can he make a miracle comeback and have an incident free 2012? He has the ability to put up numbers that can help your team, but he doesn’t have the versatility to play multiple positions.  He’s no Emilio Bonifacio.  If he has a decent spring and he looks like he can put the issues of 2011 behind him, he might be able to help you.  I would still though remain overly cautious.  Grab him in the later rounds, only if you find yourself with Mr. Met penciled in as your first baseman.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Birthday boy Aaron Judge homers and makes spectacular catch at Fenway

Warriors invite members of ‘We Believe’ team to playoff game

Emmanuel Sanders says Paxton Lynch no longer has ‘deer in headlights’ look

Report: Adrian Beltre not close to return to Rangers

Report: Emails suggest no foul play in Eli Manning memorabilia case

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander fined $100,000 for confronting official

Genie Bouchard: Maria Sharapova is ‘cheater,’ should be banned for life

Marshawn Lynch confirms he has joined the Raiders

Browns’ Joe Thomas: ‘I’m already seeing memory loss’

Westbrook hasn’t ‘even thought about’ contract extension

Pirates call up Gift Ngoepe, first MLB player from African continent

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Box Score 4/26: NFL Draft eve

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

NFL Draft X-factor players you may have missed during their college careers

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker