Blue Jays Dwight Smith Jr. Season is Turning Around

Blue Jays outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr. is riding a 20 plus game on-base streak which has resurrected his season and maybe he career.

 

 

Dwight Smith Jr. has spent the past 4 seasons climbing his way up the Toronto Blue Jays farm system. Heading into the 2015 season it thought the outfield prospect had a legitimate shot at making his major league debut at some point during the season. Obviously this never didn’t happen.

Where did Smith go wrong? Did he have an off year or was he over-matched?

First off, the talented outfielder didn’t have a terrible year in 2015. Yes, his numbers were down, but they were still very reminiscent of those posted in 2013 and 2014; however, a decline in many of his offensive numbers caused bloggers and scouts alike to doubt that Smith Jr. would progress beyond Double-A.

The Georgia native saw his ISO fall from .169 down to .111, his OPS fall from .816 to .711 and his slugging percentage from .453 to .376. This all resulted in lower home run totals (12 to 7), triple totals (8 to 2) and RBI totals (60 to 44). Dwight Smith Jr.’s slight decrease in his peripheral stats can be explained by a drop in the speed department. This is not to say that Smith Jr. was slower in 2015 versus 2014, rather Smith was unable to utilize his fringe with New Hampshire the same way he was able to with Lansing.  Removing this facet/weapon from Smith’s arsenal caused a huge drop in his secondary average (sum of extra bases gained on hits, BB, and SB). After a .316 secA, Smith managed just a .215 secA. His stolen base numbers have steadily fallen from 25 in 2013 to 15 in 2014 to just 4 in 2015.

So what was expected from the former 2011 compensation pick in 2016?

Simply stated, not much. The Blue Jays management left him off the 40-man,  exposing him in the past Rule V draft. Smith wasn’t taken in the Rule V draft, as many scouts view his ceiling as a 4th or 5th outfielder, who needs to rely on his ability to get on-base and maintain a good batting average.

Dwight Smith Jr. was forced to return to Double-A New Hampshire with the addition of Junior Lake, Darrell Ceciliani  and Domonic Brown and the return of Dalton Pompey to the Buffalo Bison outfield.

If Smith had been given the chance to start the season in Triple-A it wouldn’t have been long before he found his way back to New Hampshire, as the left- fielder struggled immensely in April.

In Smith’s first 15 games game he hit .145 with no home runs, looking like a prospect that wasn’t ready to take the next step in his evolution.

That’s all changed.

On April 30th Dwight Smith Jr. had an uneventful day at the  plate going o-for-3 with a walk, which looked like it was going to be par for the course; however, since that game Smith has safely reach base for 23 games and counting.

Over the past 23 games the New Hampshire Fisher Cats outfielder has hit .333 with 3 home runs and a organizational leading 14 runs batted in. Smith owes a triple slash line of .422/.556/.978 to raise his average from .145 all the way up to .258.

Dwight Smith Jr.’s April spray chart

Dwight Smith Jr. April, 2016 spray chart from MLBfarm.com
Dwight Smith Jr. April, 2016 spray chart from MLBfarm.com

 

Dwight Smith Jr.’s May spray chart

Dwight Smith Jr.'s May spray chart from MLBfarm.com
Dwight Smith Jr.’s May spray chart from MLBfarm.com

Dwight Smith Jr. doesn’t have a home run swing, rather he owns a line drive swing that is conducive for shooting for the gaps. Looking at the two spray charts, it is obvious that Dwight starting driving the ball and not grounding out as much. This resulted in him hitting 7 doubles in 20 games versus 2 in April.

No one knows what is in store for Dwight Smith Jr, but if he continues to have more May’s in 2016 he should get that shot at Triple-A.

 

 

 

 

 

*Feature Image Credit: Jeff Archer under CC BY-SA 2.0 UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

 

 

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Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn't cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I'm more right.