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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

May 6, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Justin Smoak is getting up there with the big boys

smoakhr.jpg

(Photo by Associated Press)

Geoff correctly notes that the Mariners will have to eventually find someone other than Justin Smoak to carry the offense.

But for the moment, he’s doing a great job of doing just that — and he’s starting to insinuate himself among the very best power hitters in the game.

Here’s how Smoak ranks in slugging percentage among American League hitters:

1. Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) .762

2. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) .607

3. Jeff Francoeur (Royals) .602

4. Robinson Cano (Yankees) .580

5. (tie) Justin Smoak (Mariners), Alex Avila (Tigers) .573

Among all MLB hitters, he ranks tied for 10th:

1. Lance Berkman (Cardinals) .775

2. Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) .762

3. Matt Holliday (Cardinals) .635

4. Ryan Braun (Brewers) .629

5. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) .607

6. Jeff Francoeur (Royals) .602

7. Alfonso Soriano (Cubs) .596

8. Robinson Cano (Yankees) .580

9. Joey Votto (Reds) .577

10. (tie) Justin Smoak (Mariners), Alex Avila (Tigers) .573

Note some of the names that are not on that list — Prince Fielder (.568), Mark Teixeira (.566), Matt Kemp (.566), Troy Tulowitzki (.532), Paul Konerko (.530), Alex Rodriguez (.523), Ryan Howard (.509).

Looking at OPS, which includes the on-base component, and Smoak, with his .410 on-base percentage, ranks even higher among the elite:

American League

1. Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) 1.292

2. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) 1.064

3. Justin Smoak (Mariners) .983

4. Travis Hafner (Indians) .957

5. Mark Teixeira (Yankees) .956

MLB

1. Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) 1.292

2. Lance Berkman (Cardinals) 1.237

3. Matt Holliday (Cardinals) 1.144

4. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) 1.064

5. Joey Votto (Reds) 1.051

6. Ryan Braun (Brewers) 1.044

7. Matt Kemp (Dodgers) .989

8. Justin Smoak (Mariners) .983.

It’s eye-catching to see Albert Pujols, the paragon of OPS, ranking 82nd at .759. That’s a sure sign that things will change dramatically as the season progresses. If Pujols isn’t in the top five by the end of the season, I’ll be shocked. Smoak still has to show he can sustain his slugging prowess, but it’s been a highly encouraging ascension.

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