Toronto Blue Jays 2018 Season Preview: Looking at the Infield

TORONTO, ON - MAY 26: Devon Travis
TORONTO, ON - MAY 26: Devon Travis /
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Justin Smoak, First Baseman

It didn’t look like Justin Smoak would be a viable option for the Toronto Blue Jays following the 2016 campaign.

He finished with a .217 average, with 14 home runs and 34 RBI in 126 games. The skill in the field was never a question, however, the bat became an issue that needed correcting.

With Edwin Encarnacion‘s departure from Toronto, a spot opened up at first base for Smoak. With increased playing time, he not only shined, he was one of the driving forces for the Jays offence in 2017.

Smoak finished with a career-high 38 home runs, 90 RBI and 73 walks. He was named an AL All-Star for the first time in his eight-year career.

Due to his performance last season, along with the absence of Jose Bautista, Smoak will move up in the order for the Jays.

Fielding wise, Smoak was a rock for the Jays, finishing the season with a .998 fielding percentage, 1244 putouts, and 127 assists while only committing two errors in 151 games at first base.

If Smoak can produce at the plate and in the field like he did in 2017, then the Jays should be very happy. The question is if the same type of production can be sustained.

There’s no way that anyone can expect Smoak to carry that much of an offensive load this season. But, if he can post the numbers that are projected for him, I don’t think anyone will be complaining about Smoak’s output.