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What kind of year should we expect from Seth Smith?


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Seth Smith is a career .261/.344/.447 hitter (112 OPS+) who last year hit .249/.342/.415 (108 OPS+).   He's going into his age 34 season.   There was an interesting blurb about him last week in a fangraphs article about the quality of contact made by AL right fielders:


Seth Smith heads east to Baltimore this season. He was by far the unluckiest of the AL right-field regulars last season. His fly-ball (131 Unadjusted vs. 216 Adjusted Contact Score) and liner production (73 vs. 100) both fell well short of the level supported by the granular data. Now, we do need to take a couple grains of salt here. First, Smith is strictly a platoon player. Secondly, he is an extreme ground-ball puller who carries some newfound batting-average risk. In a carefully tailored role, in a more hitter-friendly ballpark, he should be productive in 2017. Plus, his fly-ball rate was unusually low by career standards last season, so a home-run spike could be in order.


So what is realistic to expect out of Smith, moving from Safeco and the AL West to OPACY and the AL East?   Personally, I'm expecting a line very similar to his career line, a .790ish OPS with a solid OBP component.      But I'm hoping for more, based on the analysis above.

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I'd joked after seeing that piece that he's better than Mookie Betts!

Baseball Forecaster reports that he added 25 ft of FB distance, and he's at a point in his career where he may start harvesting.  That's a term Blengino uses regularly when veteran hitters can offset some dwindling bat speed by using their experience to slug more.  Longer-term it is a sign the end is nearing, but Smith is in a nice spot for a twilight career year.

I think he has about a 50/50 shot to beat his career high of 17 HR.

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I've watched Smith play a bit and looked at some highlights.  He's a fairly coordinated/athletic guy despite having below average foot speed.  He racks up some decent assist numbers because he's able to get to the ball quickly with some momentum and get rid of the ball despite having just an average arm.  Kind of the opposite of Trumbo, who has an above average arm but is so deliberate in getting to the ball and does not have a quick throwing release.  

Smith should be around an .800 OPS if he's just limited to hitting righties.  15 home runs or so in 400 at bats is my guess.  Buck was pretty good about keeping Alvarez on a strict platoon schedule and I expect the same with Smith.  

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55 minutes ago, Yardball85 said:

I could see an average Luke Scott-esque season from Smith. In a strict platoon, I see him OPSing up to .825. Would love to see him settle in as the leadoff or number two hitter against righties. 

Luke Scott is a pretty decent comp for Seth Smith which I hadn't thought about.  I would say Scott had a little more power and could hit lefties a bit, but other than that they are similar players.  

People forget how good Scott was for us between 2008 and 2010.  .902 OPS for us in 2010 in 517 at bats. I had to take a double take on that because I didn't recall him putting up numbers like that. 

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The leader in that category was Seattle Mariners outfielder Seth Smith, whose .488 average and 239-point spike in meaningless-game situations easily topped his nearest competitor, former Oriole Jimmy Paredes, who played for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies last year. The Orioles acquired Smith in a trade this month


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Seth Smith Returns to Orioles Lineup 

(By Roch Kubatko)





Joey Rickar - LF

Seth Smith - RF

Manny Machado - 3B

Mark Trumbo - DH

Chris Davis - 1B

James Jerry Hardy - SS

Jonathan Schoop - 2B

Welington Castillo - C - 1B

Craig Gentry - CF

Gabriel Ynoa Gomez - RHP )(1-0, 6.38 ERA) o*





Tyler Blinn Duffey - RHP )(9-12, 6.43 ERA)





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