- Josh Smith
- United States
- 2019 Draft
- Signing Date
- Rule 5 Year
- Free Agent Yr
- MLB 40-Man
- August 7, 1997
The New York Yankees wrapped up Day 1 of the 2019 MLB Draft by going with their second middle infielder of the night. For the second straight pick, they went with a college player as they selected LSU second baseman Josh Smith.
Smith appeared in 63 games for the Tigers this season and played well in the tough SEC. He had a slash line of .346/.436/.533 with nine home runs, 41 RBIs, 15 doubles, and he had 20 stolen bases in 24 attempts. He is a perfect example of a player that can pile up extra-base hits while being a factor on the bases with his speed.
The left-handed hitter is ranked 76th on MLB Pipeline‘s list of the Top 200 prospects in this class. He only played in six games a year ago because of a stress reaction in his lumbar vertebra, but he was able to recover from that this year. Here is what Baseball America has to say about Smith (subscription required):
“At just 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, Smith surprisingly has average raw power, although he isn’t likely to grow into much more power in the future. And while he has terrific defensive instincts and solid hands, some scouts believe he’ll eventually have to move to second base simply because a player with twitchier defensive tools will push him off shortstop in any given organization.”
Smith was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 38th Round back in 2016 and he decided to go play for LSU. Another thing that worked in Smith’s favor was his ability to perform in the Cape Cod League. Back in 2017, he hit .382 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 21 games.
For the Yankees, you can have never enough middle infield depth and Smith has shown the ability to play both shortstop and second base. Of course, you won’t see Smith play anytime soon for the Yankees because the LSU Tigers are going to be in the Super Regionals of the NCAA Tournament.
While Smith may not have much power, good defense at shortstop is never a bad thing. To wrap up Day 1 with a player that has battled adversity and still put up good results in one of the tougher conferences in the country is never a bad thing.