Oakland Athletics’ Jake Smolinski Deserves To Be In Lineup Everyday

sriley
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The Oakland Athletics have a lot of young players on their roster that all deserve playing time. This includes OF Jake Smolinski. Smolinski was claimed by the A’s off of waivers from the Texas Rangers in late June. Since arriving to Oakland, he has had a huge impact offensively. However, the A’s have only really put Smolinski in the lineup against left handed pitchers and even sent him down to Triple-A for a short time recently.

Smolinski is a left fielder and, with Coco Crisp dealing with various injuries, he should be getting more playing time. The other left field option is Sam Fuld whose offense has been horrible this year. However, Fuld does bat left handed while Smolinski bats right. The A’s do love their platoons and could see this as a viable option.

Since coming to the Athletics, Smolinski is batting .310 with a .985 OPS. His WAR has dramatically increased from -0.6 when he was with the Rangers earlier this season to 0.6 now with the A’s. Additionally, he already has more hits as an Athletic in the 12 games he has played so far this year than he did in 35 games with the Rangers. Smolinski’s bat has been on fire and it does not look like his production at the plate is slowly down anytime soon.

However, Smolinski has not really had a chance to prove himself against right handed pitcher. He has only played in a total of 47 games this season. Smolinski has had 53 at-bats against lefties and 36 against righties. And it must be noted that he almost has the same amount of runs against lefties and righties with 10 and eight respectively.

Interestingly enough, Smolinski faced more right handed pitchers than left in 2014. Even though his batting average was still higher against lefties, he did hit over .300 against righties last season. Nonetheless, the Athletics have still almost exclusively only had Smolinski in the lineup against left handed opponents.

Perhaps Smolinski not being in the lineup on a daily basis is also an issue of open fielding positions. With Crisp – when he is healthy – and Fuld already covering left, there is not a huge reason to have Smolinski there as well. Additionally, he has been practicing his fielding skills at first base. But, as it turns out, Smolinski is more productive offensively when he plays in right field. If the A’s are looking to possibly trade Josh Reddick, Smolinski would not be a bad replacement.

In general, it would be beneficial for the team to give Smolinski a chance to bat against right handed pitchers and be in the lineup on a daily basis because of his recent success. If he is successful, then it works in the team’s favor. If he is not, no harm is done because the A’s are definitely not making the postseason. This is the opportune time to evaluate the Oakland Athletics’ young players

Next: Oakland Athletics' Jesse Chavez Making His Case For Spot In 2016 Starting Rotation

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