Kevin Smith could be the Blue Jays breakout prospect this year

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 03: Kevin Smith #66 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during a MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on September 3, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 03: Kevin Smith #66 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during a MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on September 3, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Currently ranked as the Blue Jays #9 top prospect via MLB Pipeline, infielder Kevin Smith is on track to secure a spot on the club’s Opening Day roster this season (whenever that happens). While most speculate it will be via a bench role with Santiago Espinal manning the hot corner and Cavan Biggio at second, there is the potential that Smith could find some increased reps and be one player to watch on the Jays roster this season.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Smith made his MLB debut last season for the Jays in mid-August but struggled to put the ball in play, going 3 for 32 and owning a .094 batting average and a .382 OPS while being recalled and optioned from AAA a couple of times before seasons end. Defensively, the New York product posted a .950 fielding percentage with one error through 78.0 innings at third base while also getting a few innings at first base and in left field.

The sample size for Smith was small considering he only had 32 at-bats but his numbers in AAA were solid last year, posting a .285/.370/.561 while leading the Bisons in home runs (21), RBI (69) and OPS amongst qualified players with his .931 through 94 games.

If Blue Jays Kevin Smith can continue to produce as he did in AAA last year, the former fourth-round pick could be one to watch this season.

While he did struggle with the Jays last season, considering the Blue Jays did not make any veteran bench additions before the lockout, Smith’s chances of making the roster to begin the season are quite high barring a rough Spring Training. The Athletic’s Keith Law ranks Smith pretty high compared to other prospects rankings, listing him as the #89 prospect in all of baseball heading into 2022. Law notes his revamped approach at the plate over the past few seasons and his defensive ability to play multiple positions with confidence.

Heading into 2022, Smith is on the outside looking in when it comes to taking over third base, as Espinal will most likely be given the keys to the hot corner and the job will be his to lose unless the front office brings in a veteran infielder like Jose Ramirez or Matt Chapman. He could get some reps at second if Biggio moves to a utility role but Smith himself could be used as a utility player as well, with his main position at shortstop currently occupied but does have experience across the diamond.

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If Smith does find himself getting some increased time on the field whether it be as an injury replacement or because other players are struggling, continuing to produce as he did in AAA last season could put him in the conversation to be the Blue Jays breakout player of the year by seasons end.