2008 Ranking: Not applicable
School: University of Maine
Became a Cardinal: Selected in the 39th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Selected 2008 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)
Dustin Mattison (Not ranked): Smith was a fantastic story and he definitely had a fantastic debut at Johnson City that culminated in being named the Appalachian League Player of the Year. One couldn't ask for a better start to a career. Remember in his first four games as a professional, the first baseman had four home runs and nine RBIs.
The 22-year-old posted video game numbers before being promoted to the Quad Cities. He would return to earth in his 45 at bats against the tougher Midwest League pitching. If Smith is going to move up the ladder, he is going to have to be more disciplined at the plate. For the River Bandits, he did not draw a walk while striking out 24% of the time.
I agree that Smith's stint at JC was eye opening and very impressive. But I am not sold that he will be able to do it again. He is an example of production over tools and I need more convincing that he will be able to produce against advanced competition.
Ray Mileur (33): Ironically the Cardinals 39th round draft pick of the 2008 draft makes his debut on our prospect rankings at #39. Smith put together one of the best seasons in the Cardinals' farm system, winning the Appy League batting title (.378) and the Appy League Player of the Year award, while finishing first in OBP (.418) and RBIs (49), before being promoted to Quad Cities in August.
In his first professional season, he was a mainstay in the highlights of the Birdhouse's daily Minor League Notebook. Smith hit a combined .353 with eight home runs and 59 RBIs, while leading the Johnson City Cardinals in six offensive categories (hits, RBIs, total bases, SLG, AVG, and OPS).
Message board community (Not ranked): Smith appears to have few strong supporters among Community members when it comes to a top 40 ranking. He recieved zero Community votes for the top 40 and was only mentioned briefly in any discussion. It certainly wasn't Smith's lack of statistical credentials that held him back though. His .378/.418/.585 line at Johnson City was one of the best in the Cardinal system this past year. He finished the year though with a weak .588 OPS at the more age-appropriate Midwest League.
Regardless of ranking, Smith has to be considered the surprise of the Cardinals 2008 draft. Taken in the 39th round, Smith showed skill and power beyond what his college numbers would have suggested for a player from a small school. If Smith can approximate his 2008 numbers at a higher level in 2009 he most assuredly will gain more supporters in next year's rankings. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (40): I admit that I ensured Smith made the tail end of my personal list. Apologies to Shane Peterson, Alex Castellanos and others, but anyone who could put together the kind of season that Smith did is worthy of recognition, even if realistic doubt remains over his ability to recreate it in the future.
Cardinals Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Jeff Luhnow is a Smith backer. In September, the farm director told me this: "(Smith) showed good power and a good bat. It is always a pleasant surprise when you get guys like that late in the draft that do well."
To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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