DUNEDIN, FL – It’s not always easy to follow in your father’s footsteps, especially if he is a World Series champion.
Dwight Smith Jr., son of former Atlanta Brave Dwight Smith Sr., looks to make a name for himself within the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization.
Smith Jr., sticks to his roots and keeps his father’s advice in mind while working towards a spot on the 40-man roster.
“There are some things I’ve kept to date, just take everything serious and get back into the swing of things,” said Smith Jr., as he was sitting just inside the Blue Jays’ spring training complex. “Listen to all my coaches and just familiarize myself with my tools and just get ready for the season for the most part and stay healthy.”
In order to chase his dreams of becoming a household name in the major leagues, Smith Jr., was forced to turn down a scholarship from Georgia Tech.
“Once you sign you can’t play baseball at [Georgia] Tech, so I didn’t sign,” he said. “I signed pro with Toronto so I just had a full scholarship to Georgia Tech, that was it, basically.”
After being assigned to the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League for extended spring training last season, the 20-year old outfielder hit .226, along with four homeruns and 21 RBIs before making his way to Vancouver.
While with the Canadians, Smith Jr. appeared in 18 games, recording a batting average of .175 and eighth RBIs.
Another child prodigy
Aside from the veteran advice given to him by his father, who Dwight also refers to as his “best friend,” the up and coming Blue Jays’ prospect has learned from another child prodigy, Ken Griffey Jr.
“Basically everything, really. How he changed the game with every aspect like his speed, his defence, his offence,” Smith Jr. said. “He was that five-tool guy that everyone wants to model themselves after.”
Coming into his second spring training regime with the Blue Jays’, Smith Jr. seems to have his priorities in check while enjoying the experience.
“It’s pretty good, just getting in shape and getting ready to play some games before this long season,” he said.
With a solid skill set and the personality to match, Smith Jr. wants nothing more than to play with the big boys following the noise Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulous made this past off-season, including a huge 12-player deal and another trade for the pitcher R.A. Dickey.
“It’s awesome, it’s definitely brought a lot of excitement to the team,” said Smith Jr. “We’re excited as well to just be around them guys and hopefully play with them one day. “