Phillies drafting Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith doesn’t make sense
By John Town
Several mock drafts have the Phillies selecting Pavin Smith with the No. 8 pick, but drafting Smith doesn’t click with the team’s needs.
The MLB draft starts June 12, just over two weeks from the writing of this article. Mock drafts are being written every day, and I admit I always wind up reading them to see who they have the Phillies picking.
Several mockers have the Phils going with Pavin Smith, a hard-hitting first baseman from the University of Virginia. Baseball America, Sports Illustrated, and MLB.com all say Smith will be Philadelphia’s selection.
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Smith is having his best offensive season yet at Virginia with 12 home runs and 72 RBI in 56 games. He has a .346/.429/.571 line with just nine strikeouts compared to 36 walks in 261 plate appearances. Smith’s strong plate discipline is definitely appealing.
The left-handed hitting Smith has an above-average hit tool as well as the potential for above-average power. However, his below-average speed will likely limit him to first base in his professional career.
Philadelphia is said to want a polished, college bat, and Smith certainly is that. However, this may not be the best approach for the team considering the assets that they have.
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Smith would be another first baseman in an organization that already has strong-hitting first baseman. Tommy Joseph is resuscitating his season after a poor start. I’m of the mind that Rhys Hoskins will be an even better hitter at the major-league level and he is tearing the cover off the ball yet again this year, this time at Triple-A.
It wouldn’t be as bad if Smith was speedy enough to maybe play an outfield corner as well, but that isn’t the case with him. He is limited to one position, and that position has several players already there.
The draft is also rich with college-level pitching, which is something this team is in need of. While top arms Brendan McKay and Kyle Wright will be off the board early, J.B. Bukauskas and Alex Faedo are both strong options with the potential to be starters early in the rotation.
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Smith is a solid draft prospect and I wouldn’t be upset if he winds up with Philadelphia, but I think the team is better off going somewhere else with their No. 8 pick.