Blue Jays 2019 Top Prospects: #6 Kevin Smith
By Joshua Giles
The Jays Journal staff continue with our yearly Toronto Blue Jays top prospects, the #6 spot goes to infielder Kevin Smith.
Name: Kevin Smith
Position: SS Age: 22
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 188 lbs
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: #129 Overall in the MLB Amateur Draft
Kevin Smith had a huge season last year, but unfortunately, we haven’t moved him from the #6 spot Baseball America gave him in 2018 due to the amazing success of players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Danny Jansen and a few more. But that shouldn’t discredit how amazing he has been.
Fangraphs gives Smith a 35 hit tool, with the potential of it hitting 50. This doesn’t seem too fair. Smith had a slow start to the season when he hit a slash line of .274/.332/.468 through 83 games, but when he was promoted to Single-A Lansing, he ran with it.
Having a line of .355/.407/.639 it feels as if he is getting better the more he gets promoted. And this territory isn’t unfamiliar with Smith as he had a .271 batting average in Rookie-Ball.
His potential may be accurate in having him as a good hitter for the future, but I think Fangraphs isn’t giving him enough credit as a batter.
Smith is given a current power score of 40 with him potentially topping out at a 50. That’s pretty dang good for a shortstop. Throughout all of last season, he crushed 25 home runs, and 93 RBI’s in 129 games.
This shows me that, when he reaches his peak, Smith has the potential to be utilized as a front of the order batter. My best guess would be in the one or two slots and that is how he has been primarily used in his time in Dunedin and Lansing. In 2018 alone he had 575 plate appearances alone. That’s a decent size.
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Smith has some pretty good speed. And as he should, he’s a shortstop. His speed score is a 50. Maybe not overly fast, but he is still a nightmare on the base paths. Registering 29 stolen bases last season, he has shown that he is still a reasonable threat to get pitchers when they may be sleeping on the young shortstop.
As a fielder, Smith is given a score of 40. It is a pretty fair value for him giving his .963 fielding percentage. It’s a good percentage, but it may not be strong enough to stay at the position.
Smith saw some playing time between second base and third base as well this season, and he has found a good amount of success at second. He played 108.2 innings at the position and has a percentage of .984 which is better.
The Blue Jays have a lot of depth at the position of shortstop, and Smith is a good defender, but Bichette might be better or Logan Warmoth, or Jordan Groshans. No matter what, Smith will have to fight to stay at short.
After last season, there is a lot of attention on Smith, the closest I can relate it to is when Bichette had a breakout year a couple of years ago. Smith has earned his spot as one of Toronto’s top prospects and further legitimizes the Jays’ farm system as one of the best.
He will most likely start next year in Double-A New Hampshire, and I’m sure will find a good amount of success.
He is a really good hitter, as well as a threat on the bases. His biggest weakness, if you can call it that, is that he is a pretty good fielder. He will be a starter in the MLB, whether it will be at short, or maybe another position. But I will bet anything Smith will see the big leagues in the next couple of years.