Arizona Diamondbacks: Looking At Pavin Smith's Successful Start To Rookie Campaign
|Photo Credit: Ross D Franklin/AP Photo|
When the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Pavin Smith with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 draft, they were getting one of the best offensive players available.
Now going on four years since they drafted the product University of Virginia, the Diamondbacks are starting to reap the benefits of their selection.
The 25-year old rookie first baseman/outfielder is among the top first-year hitters in the National League. Smith ranks second in doubles and runs scored, tied for fifth in home runs and RBIs.
Smith saw his three-year career at UVA finish with his junior year that saw him hit .342/.427/.570, launching 13 home runs while driving in 77 runs. He also only struck out 12 times compared to 38 walks, so he is no stranger to hitting.
After a 12 game stint in the big leagues in 2020 where he hit a home run and drove in four, Smith has become a regular in the lineup this season and he has been one of the best in the league in making solid contact on the ball.
According to statcast on MLB.com, Smith ranks tenth in baseball in exit velocity events of over 95 MPH with 59. He is one event behind notable names like Giancarlo Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman.
Smith also ranks third in percentage of swings that result in a 'hard hit' (95+ MPH) as his 24.3% trails only Ronald Acuna Jr and Manny Machado.
Something else that Smith is growing into is his role as the team's leadoff hitter. The versatile Smith is one of 21 players to have over 100 plate appearances batting out of the leadoff spot, and his hitting numbers while doing so puts him in some impressive company.
His .284 averages ranks seventh among the sample group of 21 players with 100 plate appearances in the leadoff spot, according to Fangraphs. He also ranks tenth in wRC+ (116), eighth in OPS (.795), eight in slugging (.453) and first in hard hit percentage (no shocker there, 42.9%).
Smith has gotten here by showing the kind of ability to hit the ball wherever it is thrown in the strike zone that you would expect out of a former top ten pick.
No matter where you put it, Smith has been able to hit it.