School: Maryland; Class: Junior
Position: SS; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-0; Weight: 188
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: A three-year starter for Head Coach John Szefc at the University of Maryland, Smith, who was bypassed by every MLB club coming out of high school, has developed into a solid second or third round pick. As a true freshman, the 6-foot, 188-pound shortstop established himself as a promising professional prospect, hitting a steady .273/.358/.422 with 14 doubles, a triple, and seven homeruns while tying eventual third rounder Brandon Lowe for the team lead in stolen bases with 11.
Smith, a native of East Greenbush, New York, saw a noticeable downturn in production during his sophomore season: in 57 games, he batted .259/.308/.409 with nine doubles, one triple, and eight homeruns. He also failed to record a stolen base. Not deterred by the decline, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox reached out to the young shortstop and invited him to the Cape Cod League for the summer. Smith responded by slugging .301/.348/.427 with 12 doubles and a pair of homeruns to go along with seven stolen bases.
This season, the Columbia High School product batted a solid .268/.323/.552 with 10 doubles, three triples, and 13 long balls while going 4-for-4 in the stolen base department.
For his career, Smith’s sporting a .267/.331/.455 triple-slash line in 776 total plate appearances.
Projection: The production itself isn’t necessarily noteworthy: he’s never batted above .273 during his tenure with the Terrapins; his once promising patience at the plate has dwindled down to red flag territory; and his strikeout rates/contact skills are questionable – at best. But in a draft class lacking a whole lot of offensive depth at the collegiate level, Smith could hear his name called between rounds two and three.
The power – as well as the likelihood that he stays at shortstop – are his redeeming qualities.
A team may convince themselves that they might be able to unlock the plate discipline he showcased as a true freshman – he walked in 10% of his plate appearances and fanned just 11.9% of the time – but he hasn’t shown anything near that level since then.
At his peak, Smith looks like .250/.290/.400-type hitter. Throw in some solid defense and he has the makings of a potential super-sub and/or starter on a non-contending team.
Ceiling: 1.5-win player
Floor: 0.5-win player
Grade: Second/Third Round