Justin Smith

Position: RF
Level: Rk
Affiliate: Danville Braves
League: Appalachian League
Born: 02/29/1996 (Age: 28)
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205
B/T: Right / Right
Acquired: 20th Rd., 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft (ATL)

Prospect Spotlight

The Braves drafted Smith in the 20th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of St. John’s River JC (FL), signing him for an undisclosed bonus. He showed well enough in the Rookie Appalachian League in 2017 to open 2018 at Class A Rome, but he was sent back down to Danville on July 2. He has found his power stroke across my looks in July and August this summer but is still limited by approach and contact issues.

Smith is an average athlete, strong and thick, with above-average raw power, a result of both his solid frame and above-average bat speed. There’s some violence to his swing, but Smith showed ability to square up velocity for hard contact. He has a good eye and does not expand the zone, but Smith does struggle to make contact on spin in the zone. Despite loose hands, his ability to manipulate the barrel to adjust to spin is poor, and it adds up to a well-below-average future hit tool. There’s still ceiling for 45 game power, which will also lead to both walks and whiffs given his knowledge of the zone. Defensively, Smith’s average arm plays best in left field and it has passable strength to play in right field.  His fringy speed and range pins him in a corner spot, and he’ll play to an average grade defensively with solid reads and instincts in the outfield.

The muscular slugger has upside, with the ability to impact the ball and take pitches while filling in both corner outfield spots. That said, projecting him as a big leaguer of consequence is a stretch right now. The bat will have to carry his profile as a corner player, and his inability to barrel off-speed and tap into the raw power likely limits him higher up the ladder. Smith profiles as a FV 30 prospect right now, high-minors depth with the chance for 4A/callup value as a bench bat.