A lot happened recently that has a huge influence on this debate, so let’s take a look:
After hitting to the tune of a .328 average with 6 HR, 29 RBI and 30 R over 183 Double-A at bats, the Rangers promoted him to Triple-A, where he has opened going 1-5 with 2 Ks and 2 BBs over his first two games. Still, the fact that we haven’t reached the All-Star Break and the team’s 2008 First Round Draft Pick is already at the highest level of the minor leagues is very telling.
With Chris Davis being demoted yesterday, a whole new question now has to be asked, however. The two are going to be playing side-by-side, as they compete to reach the majors and help the Rangers down the stretch. It had been a foregone conclusion for many that when Davis was sent down (which seemed inevitable), that Smoak would be the one to take his place.
That hasn’t happened yet. Maybe they want to give him a week or two at Triple-A, patching it together in the majors before recalling him. What if he struggles? They aren’t going to bring him up just for the sake of bringing him up, so his performance is obviously going to be vital.
How the other options the team has are performing will also clearly play a role, however. If Hank Blalock and company can hit well, especially with the return of Josh Hamilton, the team is likely to be more patient.
Also, you have to factor in that if Davis can start hitting at Triple-A, he could be the first one recalled, given his experience. Seeing Smoak’s name in the line-up everyday will certainly be a motivating factor for him, one would think.
Since Interleague play came to an end, Blank’s playing time has been fairly minimal. Like most people, I was assuming that he was going to be sent back to Triple-A any day at this point, that is before yesterday’s news that Scott Hairston was shipped to Oakland for a pair of minor leaguers and a player to be named later.
That leaves a gaping hole in the middle of an already weak Padres line-up. It could open up everyday at bats for Blanks, who has the potential to step into the middle of the order with Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chase Headley both having pretty poor seasons to date.
Blanks cab be the protection the Padres sorely need for Adrian Gonzalez, though the power is not going to be prototypical of a middle of the order bat. He hit 20 HR last season in 492 Double-A at bats, while hitting 12 this season at Triple-A, but that was in the Pacific Coast League so take it with a grain of salt.
His value comes from his average (a career minor league average of .304) and RBI potential. While he will chip in some power, it is not going to be at an elite level at this point.
In long-term keeper leagues, this is a no-brainer, with Smoak getting the clear edge. What about short-term keeper leagues or deep yearly leagues? Which player do you think has the most potential value?
Personally, I’m not sold that Smoak is going to be recalled as soon as people are hoping. I easily could see him remaining at Triple-A until September (though, I could also see a scenario with him being recalled in two weeks). Assuming Blanks is going to hold down an everyday job, it would make perfect sense to have him on your roster. At least you have a player that you know has the potential to contribute, as opposed to just hoping that he will at some point.
Now, it’s your turn to share your opinion on this. Which player would you rather have on your roster right now (outside of long-term keeper leagues)?
To read the previous article, click here.