"For a young kid right out of high school, Dwight has a fairly advanced approach to hitting," Manager Clayton McCullogh said. "He's done a nice job of getting good pitches to hit. For a young hitter, the hardest thing to get them to do is be aggressive, but at the same time understand what pitches they can hit. Dwight has shown a very patient, aggressive approach."
While you can certainly tell that Smith is passionate about baseball, you can also
sense his patient attitude towards the way that he approaches training for it and
performing in games.
The 18-year-old's first Spring Training Camp went well for him. He felt as though he
worked hard in the offseason to prepare him for the this year, and that he really
worked on getting a routine in order during Spring Training.
"I wasn't worried about the results," Smith said. "I was just trying to get in the swing
of things and get a good feel for how things were going to be."
During the offseason, Smith took time to really work on building strength in his legs
so that he could perform well and get through the season. He also worked on fine-tuning his hitting. He lost some weight while still gaining strength and speed. His health and strength have gotten him through Spring Training, and Smith
is optimistic about how he is performing now in EST.
"I've done pretty [well] to start Extended Spring Training," Smith said. "I continued
working on the same stuff as I was in Spring Training. I'm playing five to six games
a week and getting on a consistent basis."
Smith has found consistency in his daily routine of cage work and batting practice.
"Dwight's had a very good Extended Spring Training," said McCullough. "His at bats have
been good day to day. He's given himself the chance to have success because
of the pitches that he's chosen to swing at. Dwight has made some very good strides
in the first month of this program."
Smith feels as though his confidence level is just right. He doesn't want it to get too high
or too low. As long as he keeps it an even level and continues to work hard, he
feels as though he will stay grounded and continue to improve.
"There's not a whole lot of major overhaul that needs to be done with Dwight," said
McCullough. "I think that overall he needs to improve his play in centerfield, he needs
to continue working on his stolen base jumps and his overall base running. Offensively
Dwight's going to continue to get better with at bats. His main focus is to work on
getting more experience."
Smith is ready to try new things and is up for a challenge when it comes to the upcoming
short season leagues. He is excited to play and feels well prepared.
"I'm feeling pretty good about it because of all of the work that I have put into Spring
Training and Extended Spring Training," said Smith. "I think it will carry on into the season."
The young Georgia native has shown that he has the talent, the attitude and the
dedication to make it to the big leagues. His best bet now is continue to improve
and get as much experience as possible to show what he's got.
"He's only going to get stronger," said McCullough. "He has a chance to be a solid defender; a guy who can steal some bases for you. For how quickly he has shown improvement,
Dwight has a chance to have a long career and be a major league player."
Smith Jr. Learning a Routine
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