Maybe because this Blake had one of the worse debut seasons ever for a round two pick in history? When you are a 21 year old College player drafted in the 2nd round you are expected to dominate in the Rookie League not hit .212 and slug .308. This Blake was so bad that it was simply assumed he would return to the mound, and give up the idea he was an outfielder. Our best prospect hounds were dismissive when Baseball America had the temerity to still include him in their top 25.
Not so fast my feathered friends. Blake Smith may have taken the long route but on Thursday Night he arrived with a bang.
1st ab - Two Run Home Run
2nd ab - Reaches on fielding error
3rd ab - Lead off Double
4th ab - Two Run Single
5th ab - Double driving in one run
5th ab - Single
Final line - 6 at bats, on base six times, drove in five runs, two doubles, home run, two singles. 10 Total bases, last year he had 32 total bases in over 100 at bats. I had heard the Dodgers signed Blake, and had him become an outfielder based on a prodigious power display he put on at Dodger Stadium when they were checking out players last spring before the draft. It was nice to see that player show up in 2010 on opening day. Hopefully there is more to come.
As we started our first Minor League Game Thread for opening day most eyes were focused on top prospects Chris Withrow and Dee Gordon. WIthrow threatened to put a wet blanket on our good mood by pulling a Padilla when he gave up two runs on three hits. The hits were line drives and the outs were line drives. Whatever was the problem in the first inning once it was over Withrow put the hammer down and was masterful from that point on. Over his final five innings he gave up no runs, no hits, one walk , and four strikeouts. That would be six innings, which kind of shocks us given how few innings our major league starters have gone so far this year. Dee Gordon did not fare as well going 0 - 4. During Gordon's 1st at bat the radio announcer noted that the outfield was playing him like a little leaguer. Meaning they had no respect for his power or lack thereof. The interesting outfield had a good game. Scott Van Slyke drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 8th with his 2nd double of the game and finished with three runs batted in. Lambo was on base three times with a single and two walks. Trayvon Robinson had two hits and a stolen base. Javy Guerra capped off the night with a hitles and walkless 9th to pick up the save. Important for Javy is the fact he did not walk anyone.
The second big game of interest was James McDonald making the start for the Isotopes. James acquitted himself well going five solid inning. Only misstep was a solo home run by Justin Smoak one of the top hitting prospects in the league. Of minor interest was how the lineup was going to look. Hu played SS, DeJesus played 2nd, Russ Mitchell played 3rd as I suspected he might. It will be curious if they flip flop Hu/DeJesus or keep it like this.
The Inland Empire 66ers have Kyle Russell on the team and he did not disappoint with a home run, double, and walk in his five plate appearances. Cole Saint Clair saved the game with two innings of hitless ball.
Hard to beat an opening day where all four affiliates win.