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Justin Smoak finally turning potential into production

By Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

OK, it's early. It's really early. Too early to talk about trends.

But the performance of one particular player both in spring training and to start the regular season is intriguing to Fantasy owners, many of whom have dismissed him as a bust. That player is Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak.

Smoak is smoking. He has opened the year with four hits in at eight at-bats, three runs, one home run, two doubles, six RBI and a partridge in a pear tree. He has taken his momentum from a spring in which he boasted a .523 slugging percentage and .891 OPS and ratcheted it up a notch.

One might point out that Smoak tore it up in Arizona in 2013 as well. But it should be noted that he began that regular season 5 of 23 with no extra-base hits. It also should be noted that the Mariners still think enough of him to bat him cleanup behind Robinson Cano.

Smoak is or was a perennial prospect, depending on how long you consider that status viable. He is owned in 41 percent of all leagues and is a starter in just 19 percent. Perhaps it's too early to call for that number to rise. But Fantasy owners might be wise to jump on Justin - Justin case he has discovered the potential once deemed for him.

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