Baltimore Orioles: Three Players Who Failed To Capitalize
How much time will Dwight Smith Jr.see at the major league level with the Baltimore Orioles?
A spring training addition via trade with the Toronto Blue Jays (for international bonus money), Dwight Smith Jr.came on hot with the Orioles. Hitting .276 through the first month of the year, Smith added 12 extra-base hits, including five home runs, in 27 games. It appeared as if Mike Elias had found himself quite the steal.
Unfortunately, injuries limited the former top draft pick of the Blue Jays to just 29 games after the All-Star break. Once healthy, Smith was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk for a week before September roster expansion. He needed to finish the year on a high note, and was successful in his limited playing time, but did he do enough?
Overall, Smith hit .241 with a .297 OBP, an 83 wRC+, and was worth -0.8 fWAR. Only Richie Martin and Chris Davis provided less value to the Orioles. What hindered his value the most was his defense. As a whole, defense in Birdland was atrocious, but Smith was particularly painful to watch.
Smith recorded -12 Defensive Runs Saved and posted a -8.2 Ultimate Zone Rating in the outfield. Just six outfielders in all of baseball played worse defense in the outfield, per Fangraphs’ advanced metrics. If you sat through all or the majority of Orioles games this season, you don’t need the advanced metrics to tell you how bad his defense was.
Thanks to Austin Hays taking Birdland by storm in September and Anthony Santander emerging as a legitimate major leaguer, Dwight Smith Jr.is going to have a tough hill to climb if he wants playing time at the major league level.
Ryan Mountcastle will be up in the big leagues a few weeks into the regular season and DJ Stewart is sure to be given another opportunity to earn playing time. We also can’t forget about Cedric Mullins with his speed and defensive abilities.
I really like Dwight Smith Jr. but he failed to fully capitalize on his opportunity and he may not be able to make it up in 2020.