Can Smoak Monster get Rangers off island?

April, 22, 2010
4/22/10
3:01
PM ET
Yeah, the Rangers were supposed to win the American League West (according to me, anyway). And yeah, they're in last place with a 5-9 record. Too early to panic? As Dave Cameron writes, maybe not:
Chris Davis is, once again, struggling at the plate. This isn’t new, as he posted a .311 wOBA last year. He’s tried to increase his contact rate to cut down on the strikeouts, but it’s coming at the cost of his power, as he has yet to hit a home run. Davis doesn’t do enough other things well to be a valuable player without the longballs, and he’s still got a decent amount of work to do if he’s going to become a good big league hitter.

The Rangers can’t afford to let him work out his problems in Arlington, however, not when they have a viable alternative hanging out in Triple-A. Justin Smoak, one of the game’s premier prospects, is just terrorizing PCL pitching, hitting .326/.500/.587. As a stark contrast to Davis, Smoak has drawn 16 walks and struck out just 6 times in his 62 plate appearances so far.

--snip--

Texas’ best line-up includes Smoak at first base. Already three games back in the AL West and losers of six in a row, it’s time for them to make the move.

Justin Smoak probably isn't this good. Chris Davis probably isn't this bad. A Davis/Garko platoon at first base should be decent, at least. But Davis is homerless and Garko is hitless. As a result, in 14 games Texas first basemen have driven in one run and scored two. Which is sub-optimal.

Cameron's probably right about Smoak; he's probably better, right now, than Davis and Garko put together. But there are payroll considerations, as leaving Smoak in Oklahoma City for another two or three weeks might save the Rangers millions of dollars down the road. I think that's a risk worth taking.

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