This was the second time Smith was traded within a 90-minute span Wednesday, as he was originally dealt from Atlanta to Seattle in exchange for prospects. Smith is more highly thought of in fantasy circles than in real life, due to his elite speed that could lead to a 40-plus steal season if he received regular at-bats over a full season. The Rays have a pretty crowded outfield situation now, and it is unclear if Smith will start the year in the majors or see everyday at-bats at Triple-A. He could possibly occupy the strong side of a platoon with Steven Souza, but the Rays might not be ready to pull the plug on giving Souza everyday at-bats. Smith's stock still sees an uptick, as there was nowhere for him to play in Atlanta at the start of the day. It will be an interesting situation to follow in spring training, but Smith is essentially big league ready, and is therefore worth a mid-to-late round gamble because of his speed. His recovery from a recent oblique strain will also be something to track as spring training approaches.
After displaying prolific speed at every stop throughout his minor-league career, Smith was promoted to the Braves last April and made a big impact on the basepaths during his rookie season, accruing 16 steals in just 215 plate appearances. However, Smith's overall impact was limited by a sickly .238/.316/.365 battling line, and the Braves' decision to trade him away is an indication they didn't feel he profiled as an everyday option in the outfield. Smith's activity during the offseason has been limited by a pair of oblique strains, but assuming he's back to full health by the start of spring training, he'll compete for a 25-man roster spot with the Mariners. It's not out of the question for Smith to push for an Opening Day starting or platoon role either, as Leonys Martin is seemingly the only established regular among the outfielders currently on the 40-man roster.
Smith left his Puerto Rican league team after a recurrence of a strained oblique, the Atlanta Journal Constitution's David O'Brien reports.
The oblique injury undermined his brief stint with a Mexican league team in October, as he has been unable to overcome the injury this offseason. Smith apparently wanted to continue to play in Puerto Rico, but the Braves brought him home as a precautionary measure. In addition to the oblique concerns, Smith does not have an obvious avenue to playing time on the big league club, so he is likely destined to open the year at Triple-A so that he can continue getting everyday at-bats.
With Matt Kemp, Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis slotted in as the team's starting outfielders, the
Smith has a strained oblique but could get another opportunity to play winter ball, the Atlanta Journal Constitution's David O'Brien reports.
He was released by his Mexican League team after suffering the injury, but there is a chance he could heal up and get some game action in before spring training. Smith's thumb injury that sidelined him for the final three months of the season may have allowed for him to be a little under the radar as a source of steals heading into 2017. That said, it is unclear where he will play, as Matt Kemp, Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis are all ahead of him on the organizational depth chart.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/2/2016 vs Detroit|
|vs Verlander (Career)||0||0||0||0||0||0|
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|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2013||AFX-Fort Wayne Tincaps||110||424||81||111||17||2||4||29||59||84||64||16||.367||.340||.262|
|2014||AFX-Fort Wayne Tincaps||65||254||56||75||13||6||0||15||38||55||48||16||.393||.394||.295|
|2014||AFA-Lake Elsinore Storm||55||223||43||73||16||1||5||16||31||48||40||10||.414||.475||.327|
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