Preseason AA ranking: 11
2015 stats: .303/.353/.429; 6.9% walk rate; 17.1% strikeout rate
Season to date
From a purely statistical perspective Dominic Smith is experiencing the breakout we all were hoping for. After a dismal April in which he hit .220/.256/.244 and was slowed by an injury, Smith has hit .316/.368/.457 since and currently leads the Florida State League in doubles as one of the younger players in the circuit. His power increase this year hasn't yet translated into over the wall power but his four home runs thus far are an improvement over last year's one, as is his current .126 isolated slugging which is almost double last year's .067.
Why he ranks here
Smith jumps up just a few spots from our preseason rankings despite all of the graduations ahead of him for several reasons, the most notable being that the reports coming out of St. Lucie on him have not improved. Jeff Moore of Baseball Prospectus famously took Smith down in a report earlier this year and then doubled down on that report after another viewing weeks later. Our own Jeffrey Paternostro also got a look at Smith and was unmoved. In addition to the poor scouting reports, we have continued reports of Smith appearing out of shape, which is a red flag that refuses to go away. The good news is that if Smith can still perform at the level he is with the concerns about his approach and conditioning, what could he do if he improves in those areas? Typically when you say a player has some projection left you're referring to his body adding muscle and strength but in Smith's case he has projection in that he has room to get in shape and refine his approach to complement his natural baseball ability. Also, I should add that not all of the reports coming in on Smith are negative. Both Keith Law and Kiley McDaniel recently held chats in which they said they had spoken to scouts who gave them glowing reviews on Smith--Law was so impressed he included Smith in his midseason top 50. I think it's fair to say that Dom Smith is a polarizing prospect.
Nate is bullish:
"I'm generally optimistic about Dom Smith in view of his age and his impressive rebound from a terrible start to the season. There are well-documented concerns with his body and swing, but they lose some of their sting for me when I recall the fact that he only turned 20 last month." - Nate Gismot