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Blue Jays select SS Kevin Smith in the 4th round

NOT this Kevin Smith
NOT this Kevin Smith
Rich Polk/Getty Images

With the 129th pick of the 2017 MLB Draft, the Blue Jays selected shortshop Kevin Smith from the University of Maryland. He represents the second college shortstop they've taken this year from a "Power 5" conference.

Coming into 2017, Smith was projected as a possible first round pick as the consensus top college shortstop after posting a .301/.348/.427 line in 154 plate appearances with wood bats in the Cape Cod League, albeit with just 9 walks against 33 strikeouts (a 21% strikeout rate).

However, he did not carry that over to to this spring, getting off to a very slow start while striking out a ton and missing some time with injuries which caused him to plunge down draft rankings. In some respects, he switched places with Logan Warmoth of the course of the last four months (though Warmoth would have gone higher than Smith ended up going).

He did come on strong later in the second half of the year, finishing with a decent .268/.323/.552 line, with a career high 13 home runs and 26 extra base hits. The hit tool is what lags behind, as he's never hit for average at Maryland with .267 career batting average, and just a .290 BABIP which is very low for the college level. The big concern is the propensity for swing-and-miss. A major league player comp might be a poor man's Alex Gonzalez (the one the Jays signed, not the one they drafted, though really either works).

Defensively, Smith doesn't have standout tools, but is expected to stick at the position. He could also work as a utility player.

This pick is fitting the emerging new Blue Jays modus operendi of drafting college players who have more upside than typical college players, but also some potentially glaring flaws. One thing that doesn't appear to have changed is targeting Cape Cod league performers.