Smith looks to keep moving up
In the past year since being drafted, rightfielder Jordan Smith has performed at a high level from the moment he first stepped on the field.
Smith grew up in Willmar, Minnesota, a town in southwest Minnesota with a population of 19,610 people. He played three sports in his time growing up.
“There is not a lot of baseball because there is snow all of the time," Smith said. "I grew up playing hockey and then obviously, I played basketball in high school. It is a great place to grow up, everyone is really laid back.”
Smith went to St. Cloud State University in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. St. Cloud St. is a university with about 17,000 students in central Minnesota. He played baseball while at St. Cloud. In two seasons, Smith played in 112 games and hit .420 with 22 home runs and 135 RBI.
The Cleveland Indians selected Smith, primarily a third baseman, in the ninth round of the 2011 Draft. Smith signed soon after the draft and made his pro debut in Mahoning Valley on June 22, 2011, going 2-5 with 2 RBI.
Smith came out of the gates last year hitting and continued to perform throughout the season. In 60 games for Mahoning Valley he hit .296 with 73 hits and 47 RBI, and he walked 35 times compared to 30 strikeouts. So far this season he is hitting .295 with 3 home runs and 32 RBI in 63 games.
When asked about his continued success from last season to this season, Smith pointed out his offseason work and his inseason work as well.
“In the offseason, I just try to work hard in everything I do and try to get better," Smith said. "On the field, I am just trying to learn from other guys and the coaching staff as well. I listen to what they tell me and I use it to get better and continue to be consistent.”
Smith played third base in college and played a majority of the season last year at the hot corner. This season, he has played all year in right field.
“I played third base in college and played it at Mahoning Valley last year, but it is one of those moves where [the Indians player development staff] thought they could move me quicker there," Smith said about the position change. It's a good fit and I like it in the outfield. I trust their plan and see where it takes me.”
Smith said it was a natural move to the outfield, rather than an awkward move. He already felt comfortable with the position since it was his backup place in the field in college.
Dave Wallace has had the privilege of watching Smith progress over the last year as the manager of the Scrappers last year and the skipper of the Captains this year.
"Jordan has been fun to watch over the last year or so," Wallace said. "His work ethic is outstanding and he is getting a lot better with things that were giving him trouble and now pushing him in the right direction.”
Smith looks to continue to perform at a high level and it could push him into the High-A Carolina outfield before the end of the year or maybe the start of the 2013 season.
Despite being a ninth round pick, he could be a diamond in the rough for the Indians organization, and has a bright future.
Tyler, a sports management student at Lake Erie College, can be found on Twitter @tstotsky63.
Jordan is under the radar and less hyped than many of the Indians propects. And that seems just fine with him.
He does have a solid big league arm. Very athletic and above average speed. He does hit to all fields with good opposite field power. You watch, his power numbers will began climb with experience and maturity. Many great big league power hitters didn't hit a lot of home runs early in their career.
And don't we already have a farm system full of left-handed hitting outfielders with good BA's and no power?