Thursday, December 22, 2011

Blake Smith wins Panamanian Winter League MVP

Dodgers' minor-league outfielder Blake Smith was named Most Valuable Player of the Panamanian Winter League.

Smith, 24, crushed pitching in the league, posting a .352/.475/.602 triple slash with five home runs, 26 RBI, 10 doubles and 20 walks.

Smith spent the majority of his 2011 season in Rancho Cucamonga with the Quakes. He played six games with the Arizona League Dodgers after rehabbing from midseason hernia surgery.

He should begin the 2012 season with the Lookouts in Chattanooga. I rated him as having the best power and best outfield arm in the Dodgers' system. He checked in at No. 9 in my Top 50 Dodger prospects.

He has a lot of competition ahead of him, including Alex Castellanos, Kyle Russell, Alfredo Silverio and Scott Van Slyke -- all of whom should start the season in Triple-A. Castellanos and Van Slyke have been tried at first base while Russell's prospect star is diminishing.

I'd like to see him cut down his K-rate some more, but he improved on his 2010 season in that department. If he continues to improve against advanced pitching, he could see his prospect stock rise.

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