Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending June 3rd. This is Justin's first career weekly honor, and he is the first Mariner to garner the award since Ichiro Suzuki for the week ending September 26, 2010.
Smoak batted .348 (8-for-23) with a double, three home runs, eight RBI, six walks and seven runs scored in six games. The 25-year-old tied for the A.L. lead in homers and RBI, tied for second in walks, was third in slugging percentage (.783), sixth in on-base percentage (.483) and tied for seventh in total bases (18). Entering play today, Smoak leads the Mariners with 10 home runs and is second on the club with 29 RBI.
After dropping the series opener to the A.L. West-leading Texas Rangers on Memorial Day, Smoak and the Mariners bounced back on Tuesday with a 10-3 victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Goose Creek, South Carolina native singled, walked twice and scored two runs in the Seattle triumph. The next night, the switch-hitting Smoak powered his way to his first career multi-homer game, blasting two three-run long balls as part of a 3-for-5 effort as the Mariners bested the Rangers, 21-8, to take two-of-three from Texas in the series. Along with a double and a walk, the University of South Carolina product scored three runs and drove in six in the Seattle victory. Seattle's 21 runs were the most in a Major League game this season and were the most by a Mariner club since defeating the Anaheim Angels, 21-9, on September 30, 2000. The 21-run output fell one shy of the club record of 22, set against the Detroit Tigers in 1999. After going 2-for-3 with an RBI-single and a walk in a 7-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Friday, Justin launched his third homer of the week as the Mariners snapped Chicago's nine-game winning streak with a 10-8, 12-inning victory at U.S. Cellular Field. Smoak finished the day 2-for-6, and batted .394 (13-for-33) with five homers and 14 RBI over an eight-game stretch from May 25th-June 2nd. Smoak, who was drafted by Texas with the 11th overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was acquired by the Mariners as part of the group in exchange for Cliff Lee in July 2010.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Smoak's teammates Michael Saunders (.444, 12 H, 3 2B) and Kyle Seager (.375, 4 2B, 5 RBI); New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson (.286, 3 HR, 8 RBI) and starter Phil Hughes (CG vs. Detroit on June 3rd); Cleveland Indians infielder Jason Kipnis (.320, 6 RBI, 5 SB); and White Sox starter Chris Sale (2-0, 1.65 ERA, 4 BB, 23 K, CG vs. Seattle on June 3rd).
In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Justin Smoak will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.