Yankees 5th round pick, Chris Smith
Smith is 6′2″, 200 lbs, and committed to USC. He’s a lefty with a nice power stroke, but the impressive thing here is that he hit .708 for Centennial High School in Compton, CA this past season.
That’s not a typo.
I’ll spell it out just to make certain. He hit Seven-Oh-Eight.
Smith looks like he could be a diamond in the rough, and his coach certainly thinks so:
“He’s a terrific hitter,” Centennial coach Gerald Pickens said. “When he hits, the team gets inspired because they know the scouts are watching and try to piggyback on that.”
Pickens coached current Angel farmhand Andrew Toussaint at Centennial and Boston Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp with his C-BATs Academy team, so he knows something about talented prospects.
“Chris does things they couldn’t do,” he said. “He has dynamite strength and the ability to hit with power to all fields. They had power to only one field.”
“My strength is my bat,” said Smith, who feels his best position is left field, but has been showcased at other spots, including first base, for the benefit of scouts.
Although a talented quarterback who passed for 2,700 yards for the football team this past fall, baseball is his first priority.
“Baseball is my passion,” he said. “I’ve just loved the game since I started playing T-ball at 4 at Gonzalez Park.”
This kid could be a major find. It seems He’s got a good head on his shoulders to go with the skills:
Smith’s reputation extends beyond his teammates. His talent has made him an icon to baseball-playing youngsters in the Compton community.
“Chris is bringing baseball back to the inner-city because the kids at the parks are looking up to him,” Pickens said. “Some of these kids don’t know who Kobe Bryant or LeBron James is, but they know who Chris is.”
“It makes me feel good being a peer to these kids,” Smith said. “It’s an honor and a big responsibility to be a role model.”