The Seattle Mariners have played four official Spring Training games, and one unofficial Sprint Training game. That one unofficial game is their only loss and does not affect where they sit in the Cactus League Standings.
So far this Spring Training has been nothing but good to the Mariners (well…not really for Hector Noesi); but there is one Mariner who is benefiting from the teams hot start, and that one Mariner is Justin Smoak. The same Justin Smoak who has been under intense public scrutiny for his struggles at the plate.
At the end of last season, Smoak seemed to have fixed his swing as he torched all the baseballs in September….then again, he’s been really friging good in September since he came over to the Mariners…..Anyways, watching Smoak fix to his swing was to shorten it. Thankfully it seems like he has maintained this swing as he has come out hot. He’s hit to monster dingers in five games, and I mean monsters. Ryan Divish has some pretty interesting notes and videos regarding Smoak and the M’s hot start this spring, look here.
It’s interesting to note that Morales and Morse have yet to contribute to the dinger parade (the M’s have hit 10 already!). That being said, now is a good time to remind you that Spring Training stats aren’t really important. The thing to keep an eye on during spring training is how the player’s seem to be approaching at bats, and if they are able to consistently maintain their swings.
So these four wins against the Padres (x2), Angles, and Brewers are pretty much not important in the grand scheme of things. That also means that those ten home runs, in five games, aren’t important in the grand scheme of things regarding the 2013 Mariner’s season.But the reason it is important is because it shows that several players are looking to be improved over last season. These two players are Justin Smoak and Franklin Gutierrez; Smoak looks to be maintaining his swing from last September, and Gutierrez who needs to prove that he is healthier than he was last season.
After Gutierrez’s monster blast this afternoon, I would say that he’s probably the healthiest he has been since his first season in Seattle.