Blue Jays: There is a new Bo Bichette on the horizon
While Vladmir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette garner much of the Toronto Blue Jays prospect hype unbeknownst to many there is another young shortstop putting up Bichette like numbers in his second season of pro ball.
Shortstop Kevin Smith is beginning to make some noise in Single-A Lansing after a respectable rookie campaign in 2017 with Bluefield. This season the 22-year old is channeling his inner Bo Bichette hitting .387/.430/.664 with 53 hits including 19 doubles, 5 homers, and 9 stolen bases in 34 games with the Lugnuts.
The Jays selected Smith in the 4th round, 129th overall from the University of Maryland in the 2017 amateur draft. After posting a solid .271/.312/.466 slash line with eight homers in 61 games in his rookie season, Smith stormed out of the gate in 2018 poised to put his name in the top prospect conversation.
Jesse Goldberg-Strassler tweeted out an interesting sophomore side by side comparison of Smith and Bichette through 33 games. Smith has been arguably better than Bichette thus far even though this time last year Bichette was taking the baseball world by storm.
Smith has 10 fewer strikeouts coupled with more hits, doubles, homers and stolen bases than Bichette. Obviously, Smith will need to continue his efforts over a larger sample size but he is definitely on the right track. The infielder has also yet to be caught stealing in his professional career, he is a perfect 18 for 18 in stolen base attempts swiping nine bags in each season thus far.
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Smith has been named the Midwest Player of the Week twice already this season and last night propelled the Lugnuts to a 4-3 win by connecting for the game-tying homer in the 8th and then hit the game-winning single in the 9th inning. The shortstop has 15 hits in his last six games and has only been held hitless four times in his first 34 games this season.
Prior to the 2018 campaign, Smith was ranked as the 19th best organizational prospect by MLB.com. If he has not already, he will surely be a Top 10 prospect before the midsummer break and should debut on the Baseball America Top 100 rankings in the near future.
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The Blue Jays keep churning out major league caliber talent on the farm and should be complimented on their recent drafting and scouting efforts. The future is definitely bright north of the border.