Dodgers Prospect #34 - OF Blake Smith

Blake Smith, a Junior at Cal Berkley, was selected second by the Dodgers in the 2009 draft. Both an accomplished pitcher and a power-hitting outfielder, Smith, who bats left and throws right, was drafted as an outfielder. He is our prospect #34.

While at Cal Berkley, Smith hit 97 on the gun but Assistant GM-Scouting Logan White felt he would make a power hitting corner outfielder. He was highly touted both as a hitter and a pitcher. Much like James Loney, he has a smooth left-handed swing and incredible raw power. When he worked out, he almost hit a ball out of Dodger Stadium. He throw well and the Dodgers feel if he can utilize that raw power, he'll be a front-line corner outfielder.

And the numbers would seem to bear White out. Over his first three years at Berkley he compiled a .312 bating average with 28 homers and 111 runs batted in. On the mound he had a 4.63 average over 41 games, three of them starts and struck out 85 in 62.2 innings.

He obviously has an outstanding arm, throwing in the mid 90s with a fastball and a curve, and is a talented left-handed hitter.

Smith was a Louisville Slugger second-team preseason All-American utility player in both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball and was instrumental in the USA Baseball National (Collegiate) Team capturing the gold medal at the World Collegiate Baseball Championship in the Czech Republic.

He helped Team USA to an undefeated 24-0 record and was the team's leading hitter with a .327 average (18-for-55) with five doubles, a triple, three home runs and 13 RBI in 20 games.

He was also one of the national team's top relievers, sporting a 1-0 record with a 0.00 ERA and two saves, striking out 11 batters, allowing only three hits and three walks in 9.0 innings. During his final year at Berkley, he flashed terrific stuff on the mound but struggled in getting hitters out.

Smith was named Team USA's seventh best prospect in Baseball America, a multi-talented player who was a key contributor, either at the plate, in the field or on the mound.

The left-handed-hitting, righty-pitching Smith puzzled scouts all spring. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, he has premium size to go with athleticism. Many believe in Smith's future as a short stint relief man.

To be successful, Smith needed to improve his command. No one doubts he has the raw stuff to succeed in a middle relief capacity, but many other scouts are positive he will make it as a hitter as well, as do the Dodgers.

As an outfielder, Smith has a well above average right fielders arm, and his long, sweeping lefthanded swing produces provocative home run power. However, Baseball America pointed out, "the length and severe uppercut path of his swing may produce holes that professional pitchers can exploit."

He pulled a lat in his final year at Berkeley and apparently it flared up again during the 2009 season. He started in the Arizona Rookie League and hit .227 in six games. Moved up to the Ogden Raptors, he didn't show much improvement, save for a .304 August but just when it seemed he had hit his stride, he went down with an injury and missed from August 18 through September 4. He finished at .212 overall with little power in 30 games.

He probably is deserving of a much higher rating but until he gets untracked -- or switches back to the mound -- we will reserve judgment.

Blake Smith  6-2  220  bl  tr
Born- December 9, 1987 in Modesto, CA
School- California University
Obtained- Selected #2 in 2009

 Team		 ave  obp    ops  gm   ab   r   h  2b 3b hr  bi sb
AZ Rook		.227  .346  .619   6   22   3   5  1  0  0   2   0
Ogden		.212  .302  .619  30  104  14  22  7  0  1  12   0
 Totals		.214  .302  .619  36  126  17  27  8  0  1  14  0

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