Stratford's Justin Smoak selected for first MLB All-Star Game
Stratford High School graduate and former South Carolina Gamecock Justin Smoak has had a big season so far this year, big enough to land him the start at first base for the American League in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game.
"Justin Smoak’s big year sends him to his first #ASG as he’s voted in as the starting 1B for the AL squad," read a tweet from the MLB's main Twitter account Sunday evening.
The 30-year-old from Goose Creek was taken in the first round of the 2008 draft by the Texas Rangers after previously being a standout and All-American for the South Carolina Gamecocks. He's one of only seven players in SEC history to record 60 or more career home runs.
Smoak was traded to the Mariners in 2010 and picked up by the Blue Jays in 2014.
A switch-hitter, Smoak is known for being capable of hitting with power from both sides of the plate. He currently sports a .303 batting average, which is the highest on the Blue Jays' squad. He also has 22 home runs for the year and 52 RBI.
Smoak's been on a hot streak to say the least. Last week he blasted a 3-run homer against the Boston Red Sox to set an MLB record for the most homers hit in a month.
In an article published by the Toronto Star, Smoak said he's been chasing the numbers for too long and he's finally "gotten back to the guy that I always was, just competing and trying to be a good baseball player on both sides of the ball.”
MLB fantasy projections set the bar at 35 homers for Smoak by the end of the season.