Jays sign 53rd overall pick Dwight Smith Jr.


Today marks the deadline to sign picks from the 2011 Draft like Tyler Beede, Daniel Norris and Kevin Comer, but news broke yesterday that the Jays agreed to terms with a different pick, sweet-swinging outfielder and supplemental round selection Dwight Smith Jr.

Smith Jr., a Georgia Tech commit that was drafted with the pick the Jays obtained for offering Miguel Olivo arbitration, was signed for $800k according to Jim Callis (via Twitter), about $125k over slot.

Here’s some of what I could find on Smith Jr. which includes some video (check out his high leg kick, look familiar?) For overall draft results, check Mat’s great 2011 Draft page here.

An 18-year-old out of Mcintosh High School in Georgia, Smith Jr. has Major League bloodlines, as his father played eight seasons with four different MLB clubs. A left-handed hitter, Smith Jr. hopes to apply what he has learned from his father into a lengthy Major League career of his own.

From Baseball America:

Smith is the son of the big league outfielder of the same name. Junior has tools and a game that resemble his father significantly. His best tool is his bat, as he owns a pure stroke that ranks among the best in the draft class. He features a prominent leg kick at the plate, yet always seems to be on time and gets his bat into the hitting zone for a long time. Smith has a bit less speed than his dad and may wind up a below-average runner when it’s all said and done, pushing him from center field to a corner. He has enough arm strength to make right field a possibility, but a move to a corner will put more pressure on his bat. He has solid power and projects to have average raw power. He’s committed to Georgia Tech.

From Perfect Game USA:

Smith is essentially a physically-stronger baseball version of his father, Dwight, who played eight years in the major leagues with Cubs, Angels, Orioles and Braves from 1989-96. Dwight Sr.’s career peaked during his rookie year, when he hit .324-9-52 for the Cubs. He later established himself as a valuable fourth outfielder and reliable lefthanded bat off the bench. Because he spent his last two years in the big leagues as primarily a pinch-hitter for the Braves, Smith and his family remained in the Atlanta area and his son has been a standout in the nearby East Cobb youth program for the past three years. Dwight Jr. is a hitting machine with a very advanced ability to square up any type of pitch and drive it hard to all fields. He has exceptional balance in the batter’s box and is one of the few hitters at the high-school level in this draft who can line a breaking ball on the outer half of the plate up the left-center-field gap in one at-bat and then turn on a high-velocity fastball on the inner half in his next at-bat. Smith’s performance at the East Coast Pro Showcase last August in Lakeland, Fla., was one of the most-impressive displays of hitting ever by a player at that event. He went 7-for-8 in his first two games with a steady dose of line drives to all fields, before pitchers essentially stopped pitching to him thereafter, unusual even in a showcase environment. Part of Smith’s appeal as a hitting prospect is his mature, patient approach, so being pitched around hardly phases him. Overall, Smith’s raw physical tools do not jump out at scouts, although they play up to a higher level because of his outstanding instincts. Smith has fringy-average speed on a straight line, but is an above-average base runner with his first-step quickness, baseball knowledge and overall aggressiveness. Scouts may be inclined to evaluate his arm strength as suited strictly for left field, but he compensates for it with a quick release and unfailing accuracy, and he should be an asset on defense at any level. He may even tempt coaches in the future to let him play center field. Smith’s modest physical tools may keep him out of the first round of this year’s draft, but he shouldn’t last much beyond that as scouts appreciate his pure baseball skills as much as any high-school talent in the country.

Dwight Sr. quoted in an article with ajc.com:

“I didn’t have me teaching me at a young age and grooming me,” Dwight Sr. said with a laugh.

“He has a beautiful swing and is going to have more power than me. I think with the speed, he’s eventually going to be faster than me. He is very sound fundamentally with his offense and defense. More than that, he carries himself in a good manner. I’m more proud of that than his baseball accomplishments.”

-JM

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Tags: Dwight Smith Dwight Smith Jr. McIntosh High School Toronto Blue Jays