Rangers promote Smoak to Triple A
Justin Smoak, the Rangers’ highly touted first base prospect, has been promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
“More than anything, we felt he was ready for a challenge,” general manager Jon Daniels said.
Smoak was hitting .339 (64-for-189) with eight home runs and 34 RBIs over 52 games for Double-A Frisco and the Rangers’ Arizona League affiliate during a two-game rehabilitation assignment.
His batting average ranks him third in the Rangers’ minor-league system. He was among the Texas League leaders in on-base percentage (second, .449) and batting average (fifth, .328).
Daniels said Smoak will be the everyday first baseman in Oklahoma City and that the player will determine how quickly he reaches the Major Leagues.
“It’s up to him,” Daniels said. “It’s always a combination of what’s right for the player and what the big league club’s needs are. He’s a minor league prospect. He’s a guy we’re high on. Until he gets called up, that’s how we’ll have to look at it.”
Smoak joins the RedHawks in Oklahoma City for a four-game home series against Omaha. He was drafted 11th overall in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina. He finished his career there fifth all-time in Southeastern Conference history in home runs with 62, just five behind former Ranger Rafael Palmeiro.
The Athletics drafted Smoak in the 16th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft but failed to sign him.