Yesterday the Chicago White Sox promoted veteran minor league catcher Kevan Smith to the Major League roster. This is his second look in 2017: he played in three games back in April, going 1-for-11, but we neglected to review him at the time. Here’s a quick take.
Smith was drafted by the White Sox in the seventh round in 2011 from the University of Pittsburgh. He reached Double-A in 2014 and has been on sleeper lists a few times, but has fought injuries since reaching Triple-A and is now 28 years old. He struggled to hit for average in 2016, hitting just .219 in 183 at-bats for Triple-A Charlotte while fighting injuries, but he did slug eight homers. This season he’s hitting .377/.435/.491 in 53 at-bats in Triple-A. Being healthy helps.
Smith is a right-handed hitter, listed 6-4, 230, born June 28, 1988. He has a reasonable batting eye and isn’t prone to excessive strikeouts, but his swing doesn’t produce as much home run power as you’d expect given his size and strength. He can drive the ball for distance at times, but he also hits a lot of ground balls to the left side. As a defender he’s not especially effective against runners, catching 29% in his career, but he moves well for a big guy and is a steady receiver.
Overall, Smith profiles as a backup catcher with occasional pop. Here’s some of that pop: