Yesterday the Toronto Blue Jays promoted outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr to the major league roster and he went 0-for-2 with a walk in his major league debut against the Atlanta Braves. Smith has been around as a prospect for years, to the point where people have prospect fatigue for him, but at age 24 he still could be a useful player. Let’s take a quick look.
Smith was drafted by the Blue Jays in the compensation round of the 2011 draft out of high school in Peachtree City, Georgia. The son of former major league outfielder Dwight Smith, Junior was committed to Georgia Tech but the Jays were able to sign him. He was a seen at the time as a pure hitter with a chance to develop moderate power.
Moving slowly but steadily through the Jays system, Smith holds a .269/.342/.404 slash line through 2176 minor league at-bats. He hit .265/.332/.433 last year in Double-A. Smith was rated as a “Grade C+/C” prospect on the Toronto Blue Jays Top 20 prospects for 2017 list, slotting at “number 21” on the top 20.
This season he was hitting .297/.350/.422 for Triple-A Buffalo before his promotion.
Listed at 5-11, 195, Smith is a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower born October 26, 1992. Despite his big league pedigree his physical tools don’t really stand out on the field: his speed is average, his arm a bit below average, his raw power nothing special.
What he does have is a feel for hitting, with solid plate discipline and a line drive approach which has produced unspectacular but consistently decent production in the high minors: he produced a 111 wRC+ in 2016 in Double-A and was at 116 this season with Buffalo. Unfortunately his arm isn’t well-suited for right field. He runs well enough to play center in a pinch but his glove works best in left field overall.
Smith projects as a fourth outfielder and platoon bat. He does profile as the type of player who could have a “surprise” power surge season in his late 20s.
Very recent video from Prospect Portal: