Photo: Ryan Young

50 in 50: Dwight Smith

Draft : : Top Prospects
       
Published: Friday, May 13, 2011

Dwight Smith, Jr.
OF / McIntosh High School
 
Bats-Throws:                L-R
Height/Weight:             5-11/185
Hometown:                  Peachtree City, Ga.
College Commitment:  Georgia Tech
Birthdate:                     October 26, 1992
 
SCOUTING PROFILE: 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.
 
Projected Draft Position: Sandwich Round
 
--DAVID RAWNSLEY
 
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