March 23, 2009

Top 50 MiLB Prospects 2009: #29 Justin Smoak

Top 50 MiLB Prospects 2009 | #29 | Justin Smoak | Rangers

Position | First Base

Bats/Throws | Both/Left

| December 5, 1986 (Goose Creek, South Carolina)

| University of South Carolina

| 6'3''

| 200 lbs.

2008 Ranking | Not Ranked

Justin Smoak was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft by the Texas Rangers. The Rangers nabbed one of the best college players in the country with the 11th pick overall. Smoak combines a great bat with amazing defense at first base. His comparison at the Major League level is Mark Teixeira who also is a switch-hitter with good contact, power and Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base. Smoak was thought to be a lock in the top 10, but just fell out of it to the 11th pick. The Rangers were fortunate enough to grab Smoak, and it comes at a great time. After 2009, the Rangers will likely have a hole at first base with current first baseman Chris Davis likely shifting to full-time Designated Hitter duties. Hank Blalock will likely be the teams DH in 2009, which is why Davis is playing at first base now. Davis' defense has improved, but Smoak's is so good that it will force the Rangers hand to move Davis. Despite only playing 14 games in the Minor Leagues (thus far), he has great fundamentals and showed them in the Arizona Fall League this Fall. With that said, I expect Smoak to be penciled in as the Rangers' starting first baseman by early-mid 2010.

2008 Statistics
Level      G     PA     AVG     OBP     SLG     XBH     HR   K/BB
A         14     62    .304    .355    .518       6      3   5/10

2009 Outlook

Smoak is not far away from Texas, but he'll likely start the season in High-A with the Bakersfield Blaze.


Estimated Time of Arrival