From Cathal Kelly’s Globe & Mail article on Justin Smoak’s transformation into Jays’ next-gen Jose Bautista:
His final at-bat of the series against Yankees’ David Robertson was a minor-note master class. To hear Robertson – one of the most cunning relievers in baseball – tell it, he ran out of ideas after eight pitches. Smoak put the ninth one over the centre-field wall. It was a grand slam and the game winner.
When someone asked Smoak if he was thinking curveball on that ninth pitch, he said, “Maybe. Maybe not. I’m just glad I was thinking the way I was thinking.”
Which is not actually an answer.
Smoak is a throwback in a lot of ways, but none so pleasing as the fact that, unlike many of his colleagues, he isn’t demystifying the game. He’s mystifying it.
I was at the exhibition games in Montreal last year, just before the start of his breakout season. One of my friends asked me if I could describe Smoak in a word. My near-instant reply was “Derp”. I stand by that.