Blue Jays: This Dwight Smith Jr. kid can play folks
Toronto Blue Jays rookie outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. is making the most of his opportunity at the major league level and the 25-year old has not looked out of place.
Dwight Smith Jr. has continued where he left off last season during his brief cup of coffee with the big club in 2017. Last season Smith hit .370/.414/.444 with 10 hits in 29 plate appearances after making his MLB debut in mid-May.
The 25-year old was still behind outfielders Teoscar Hernandez and Anthony Alford on the organizational depth chart heading into spring training. However fast forward a few months and a couple of injuries later and Smith Jr. is making an impressive bid to remain with the major league squad.
Smith projects more of a fourth outfielder type player but his numbers in 24 games thus far may suggest otherwise. Between his two seasons, he is hitting .321, the question will be can he sustain those numbers over an extended period of time. So far he looks pretty good.
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After yesterdays contest Smith Jr. was batting .276 with eight hits including four doubles and a round-tripper in 13 games this season. Smith came up clutch with a two-run double in the sixth inning yesterday extending the Jays lead to 4-0 in the rubber match over the Phillies.
In 24 games with Triple-A Buffalo, this season Smith Jr. is hitting a solid .278 with 25 hits, two homers, and five stolen bases in 24 games. He is a career .269/.344/.402 hitter with 55 home runs and 70 stolen bases in 664 career minor league games.
The injuries to Randal Grichuk and Steve Pearce coupled with Anthony Alford’s struggles on the farm opened up a door for Smith, an opportunity surely doesn’t want to relinquish anytime soon. The speedy outfielder is a perfect 16 for 16 in total defensive chances while looking quite comfortable in the outfield since his call-up.
The Jays selected Smith in the first round, 53rd overall in the 2011 amateur draft due to athleticism and baseball bloodlines. The elder Dwight Smith spent eight seasons in the majors hitting at a .275 clip in 813 career games.
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The kid can flat out play and with any luck could see some decent playing time north of the border with the Jays in 2018.