Kevin Pillar was suspended by the Blue Jays for two games for making a homophobic slur in Wednesday’s loss in Atlanta. Coming up in his place will be a new face, left-handed hitting outfielder Dwight Smith Jr., to make his major league debut.
Smith isn’t currently on the 40-man roster, but Pillar’s suspension will remove him from both the 25- and 40-man rosters, opening room for Smith to be put on the team without anybody needed to be DFA’d.
Dwight Smith Jr is up with Kevin Pillar suspended. #BlueJays— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 18, 2017
Smith was drafted by the Blue Jays with the 53rd pick in 2011, a draft that also featured Daniel Norris, Anthony DeSclafani, and Pillar. He was chosen as an 18-year-old out of high school and has now spent parts of six seasons developing in the Blue Jays’ system.
Through 36 games and 144 plate appearances in Triple-A Buffalo this year, Smith has three home runs and 17 RBIs and is slashing a very respectable .297/.350/.422 line while playing all three outfield positions. He came into 2017 not ranked on Baseball America’s list for the Blue Jays farm system. The highest ranking he ever had, according to Baseball America, was the team’s 14th prospect at the end of the 2014 season.
Smith doesn’t really have one aspect of his game jump out at you. He’s a fine contact hitter who doesn’t strikeout at a high clip, manages to make contact frequently, and can hit for some power. He has good-but-not-great speed, is a smart baserunner, and is solid in the field but doesn’t possesses the range or arm to be an elite fielder.
I’m not sure if Smith is ever going to be an everyday player at the Major League level, but he’s showed promise this year in Triple-A, and regardless, it’s exciting seeing a 24-year-old that the Blue Jays drafted and developed work their way up to the big club.