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Former Blue Jay prospect Kevin Smith signs a minor league deal with the Yankees

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Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski- USA Today
Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
A former Blue Jays’ top prospect has signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees.
Reported by Jon Heyman on Monday, Kevin Smith has signed a minor league deal with his home-state Yankees.
Long-time readers may know how big a fan I am of Smith, as one of my first articles for Blue Jays Nation was about how the Jays should’ve called him up to play third base during the 2023 season. Well, the Jays eventually moved him, Zach Logue, Kirby Snead, and Gunnar Hoglund to the Oakland Athletics for Matt Chapman. Only the latter remains in that organization still.
Back to Smith, the 27-year-old shortstop/third baseman has an interesting blend of speed, power, and defensive prowess that just hasn’t translated in the big leagues. Last season in Oakland, he slashed .185/.220/.326 with five homers in 146 plate appearances for a 49 wRC+. However, he was fantastic with their Triple-A team in 2023, slashing .324/.372/.653 with an insane 16 homers in 183 plate appearances for a 137 wRC+.
It’s been a while since Smith has been a base stealer, at least in the big leagues. He’s attempted five stolen bases and hasn’t been caught once in the big leagues. In Triple-A during the 2023 season, he attempted 11 stolen bases and was successful nine times. The 27-year-old’s best ever season on the base paths was ironically his best ever season with the bat, as he went 18 for 21 in stolen bases with the 2021 Buffalo Bisons.
One area where Smith hasn’t struggled in the majors is defence. The former fourth-round pick had 5 Defensive Runs Saved and 3 Outs Above Average in 312.1 innings at third base during the 2022 season. Ironically, both were higher than what Chapman provided in the same year.
Smith mainly played shortstop in the bigs, posting -1 DRS and -3 OAA in 235 innings, but had 0 DRS and 1 OAA in 93 innings at third base, a position he is more suited for.
Depending on what the Yankees do for the rest of the season, Smith may get a shot in the big leagues if injury occurs. As it stands, D.J. Lemahieu seems like a lock to start at the hot corner for the Yankees in 2024. If he’s injured, Smith could be next in line to at least fill in as a utility player.
Either way, hopefully Smith gets another chance, even if it’s with a rival of the Blue Jays.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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