Smith Being Himself

DUNEDIN, FL - Chosen 53rd overall in this year's draft, left-handed hitting outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. signed with the Jays in mid-August and is currently getting his first experience as a professional baseball player. With one game left to go in Instructional League play in Dunedin, Smith assessed how he performed on the field.

"I thought I played pretty good," he said. "I came down, did what I wanted to do, just established my work ethic and [will] take it back to the offseason for four months and come back to Spring Training strong."

Smith, 18-years-old and out of Macintosh High School in Georgia, is hardly the youngest player in Instructs, let alone his own team.

Professional baseball is a step up from high school competition, however, and some players can feel a bit overmatched when they first get started. This is not the case for Smith, who pointed to age as helping him feel more comfortable at this level.

"I fit right in because everybody's not that much different. We're all mostly young guys, we're a young team," Smith stated. "Not many guys are like 25 so we're a young a team. I'm happy with the situation."

Smith said he came to Instructs not looking to improve on one particular aspect of his game, but rather everything. He acknowledged that there is always room for improvement, and he just wants to absorb all the information he can to take with him into the offseason.

In the outfield, Smith has been used by the Jays at all three positions. Naturally a centerfielder, he spoke about the process of moving around the outfield.

"I've been getting better on my routes. I know how to play all three positions. I'm primarily a centerfielder, but I'm pretty familiar with all three so I've been getting better at each one," he said, additionally explaining what the biggest difference between the positions is for him.

"The ball getting on you quicker because as a centerfielder, you can make one bad step and you still make that ground up because there's more room. In the corners, you make one bad step and that's probably a double or triple."

Looking back on Instructs, Smith feels he is a better player for having gained this experience. Again he emphasized taking what he has learned and using it for what lies ahead.

"This six weeks was really good because a lot of us didn't play that much this whole year, a lot of the first year guys, so this was pretty good just slowly working back into it and working towards Spring Training."

Smith doesn't necessarily see himself as becoming one particular player who is or was in the majors. He wants to just be himself, but did however show his appreciation for the recently retired slugger Ken Griffey Jr.

"I'm not sure what type of player I can become one day. I'm just playing my game really, but my favorite player is Ken Griffey Jr. His whole demeanor about the game—he always smiled, always had fun and he enjoyed the game. I used to copy his swing, but I couldn't [keep doing] that," he said with a laugh. "I had to be myself."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I thought I played pretty good,\" he said. \"I came down, did what I wanted to do, just established my work ethic and [will] take it back to the offseason for four months and come back to Spring Training strong.\"
\r\n
\r\nSmith, 18-years-old and out of Macintosh High School in Georgia, is hardly the youngest player in Instructs, let alone his own team.
\r\n
\r\nProfessional baseball is a step up from high school competition, however, and some players can feel a bit overmatched when they first get started. This is not the case for Smith, who pointed to age as helping him feel more comfortable at this level.
\r\n
\r\n\"I fit right in because everybody's not that much different. We're all mostly young guys, we're a young team,\" Smith stated. \"Not many guys are like 25 so we're a young a team. I'm happy with the situation.\"
\r\n
\r\nSmith said he came to Instructs not looking to improve on one particular aspect of his game, but rather everything. He acknowledged that there is always room for improvement, and he just wants to absorb all the information he can to take with him into the offseason.
\r\n
\r\nIn the outfield, Smith has been used by the Jays at all three positions. Naturally a centerfielder, he spoke about the process of moving around the outfield.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been getting better on my routes. I know how to play all three positions. I'm primarily a centerfielder, but I'm pretty familiar with all three so I've been getting better at each one,\" he said, additionally explaining what the biggest difference between the positions is for him.
\r\n
\r\n\"The ball getting on you quicker because as a centerfielder, you can make one bad step and you still make that ground up because there's more room. In the corners, you make one bad step and that's probably a double or triple.\"
\r\n
\r\nLooking back on Instructs, Smith feels he is a better player for having gained this experience. Again he emphasized taking what he has learned and using it for what lies ahead.
\r\n
\r\n\"This six weeks was really good because a lot of us didn't play that much this whole year, a lot of the first year guys, so this was pretty good just slowly working back into it and working towards Spring Training.\"
\r\n
\r\nSmith doesn't necessarily see himself as becoming one particular player who is or was in the majors. He wants to just be himself, but did however show his appreciation for the recently retired slugger Ken Griffey Jr.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm not sure what type of player I can become one day. I'm just playing my game really, but my favorite player is Ken Griffey Jr. His whole demeanor about the game—he always smiled, always had fun and he enjoyed the game. I used to copy his swing, but I couldn't [keep doing] that,\" he said with a laugh. \"I had to be myself.\"
\r\n
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