Wednesday, June 18, 2008

OF Chris Smith, Compton-Centennial (California) - HS (170th Overall)

OF Chris Smith, Compton-Centennial (California) - HS (170th Overall)Chris Smith, OF
Centennial HS L/L, 6-2, 195
Hometown: Compton, Ca.

STATUS: Signed, Reporting to GCL Yankees (Rookie).

Selected by the New York Yankees in the 5th round of the 2008 MLB Draft, Compton high schooler Chris Smith posted some incredible numbers and drew some lofty comparisons this season.

In 20 games as a senior, Smith hit .708 with 12 home runs, and 43 RBIs. He posted a 1.361 slugging percentage and reached base at a .744 clip. According to Maxpreps.com, his batting average was second in the state; his slugging rate was first. Perhaps even more encouraging, he struck out only three times in 72 at bats.

Compton-Centennial baseball Coach Gerald Pickens believes Smith might be the best player he has ever seen. That is high praise from a coach that has groomed area mega-stars Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis and Coco Crisp.

Smith projects best in left field, but also worked out at first base prior to the draft. He is a signability pick, having committed to USC.

While his power numbers are obviously impressive, Smith is no lumbering masher. He played quarterback and point guard for the Apaches this past season. He also showed what that athleticism could do on the diamond swiping 24 steals in 26 attempts.

If the Yankees can keep Smith from USC, this is the kind of high-reward draft pick that can pay major dividends down the road.

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