- Full name Mallex Lydell Smith
- Born 05/06/1993 in Tallahassee, FL
- Profile Ht.: 5'9" / Wt.: 170 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Santa Fe College (FL)
- Debut 04/11/2016
Drafted in the 5th round (165th overall) by the San Diego Padres in 2012 (signed for $375,000).
View Draft ReportFive-foot-9 speedster Mallex Smith was a 13th-round pick last year and is essentially the same player this spring. Now he has added a year of junior-college performance, hitting .387/.472/.473 for Santa Fe (Fla.) JC while adding 31 stolen bases in 37 attempts. He's an 80 runner with some rawness to his game that shows up most on defense. Smith lacks the strength to drive the ball consistently now and has to get stronger to keep pitchers honest at the pro level. He has a below-average arm.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Smith was one of four prospects the Braves acquired from the Padres for Justin Upton in December 2014. He led the minors with 88 steals in 2014, then overcame slow starts at both Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett in 2015 to earn organizational minor league player of the year honors, hitting a cumulative .306/.373/.386 with 57 steals in 126 games. Considered to be primarily a speedoriented player upon joining the Braves, Smith made progress in all aspects of his game in 2015. Seen by the Braves as a young version of Michael Bourn, Smith has excellent plate discipline and works counts in order to get a pitch he can handle or get on base via a walk. While he lacks home run power, he makes consistent contact and is adept at playing small ball, including bunting for base hits. A premier basestealer, Smith has excellent range in center field and has improved his routes to balls in the gap. His arm strength is below-average, but he has good accuracy on his throws. The Braves consider Smith to be the team's long-term answer in center field and at the top of the batting order. He will work with Bourn during spring training and should make his big league debut at some point during the 2016 campaign.
Another half-season at low Class A Fort Wayne was just what speedster Smith needed in 2014 to establish himself as a potential leadoff man of the future. A 5-foot-9 lefthanded hitter with at least double-plus speed, he boosted his average by 30 points year over year in the Midwest League to earn a second-half bump to high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2014. Smith put his incredible speed to good use with a minor league-leading 88 stolen bases and a focus on bunting for hits. He also led the field by being caught stealing 26 times, and his 77 percent success rate ranked middle of the road for players with at least 20 steals in 2014. With bottom-of-the-scale power, Smith must continue to make more contact, but at age 21 he already controls the strike zone fairly well, for his 69 walks ranked 11th in the minors in 2014. Most scouts see him as an average center fielder, despite his speed, and his arm plays as below-average. Smith's physique and tools earn him comparisons with the Royals' Jarrod Dyson, and that's a reasonable ceiling for him to aim for as he tastes Double-A for the first time in 2015.
Coming out of high school in Tallahassee, Fla., Smith turned down the Brewers as a 13th-round selection in 2011. He improved his stock considerably after spending a year in junior college, going to the Padres in the fifth round of the 2012 draft and signing for an above-slot $375,000. Smith's entire game revolves around 80 speed on the 20-to-80 scouting scale. He flies down the first-base line, placing extreme pressure on defenders on the left side of the infield, stretches singles into doubles and makes use of his wheels to outrun his mistakes in center field. Despite his athleticism and speed, he remains a raw defender and below-average thrower. He stole 31 bases in 37 attempts in junior college and went 17-for-21 as a pro, but he has only scratched the surface of his potential for base thievery. A short, slender lefty hitter, Smith understands the importance of bunting and putting the ball in play, though he has quick hands and feel to hit, suggesting he won't get the bat knocked out of his hands. San Diego believes his competitiveness and worth ethic will enable him to improve his defensive play, making him a potential regular center fielder and leadoff man if everything breaks right.
Five-foot-9 speedster Mallex Smith was a 13th-round pick last year and is essentially the same player this spring. Now he has added a year of junior-college performance, hitting .387/.472/.473 for Santa Fe (Fla.) JC while adding 31 stolen bases in 37 attempts. He's an 80 runner with some rawness to his game that shows up most on defense. Smith lacks the strength to drive the ball consistently now and has to get stronger to keep pitchers honest at the pro level. He has a below-average arm.
Minor League Top Prospects
One of four prospects acquired by the Braves last December when they shipped Justin Upton to the Padres, Smith continued to play to his strengths in 2015 as he succeeded at two levels of the minors, including his first taste of Double-A ball in the first half. In stops at Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett, he hit a combined .306/.373/.386 with 57 stolen bases, the latter of which ranked him fifth among all full-season players. Smith led the minors with 88 steals in 2014 and swiped 64 during his full-season debut in 2013, and top-of-the-line speed drew the Braves to the slashing, lefthanded hitter as they attempt to remake their big league roster with more athletic players. The 5-foot-9 Smith can bunt his way on base, serve the ball to left field and leg out infield hits with his electrifying speed, but he completely forgoes power by cutting off his swing and keeping the ball out of the air. "It's not pretty," said one scout, "but he puts ball in play and can run." Smith knows his strike zone but might not have the same walk rate against big league pitchers, who will go right after him because he has no power. An above-average defender in center or left field, Smith relies on speed rather than great ball-hawking instincts, but he gets the job done defensively, and can hit at the top of the order if he continues to get on base.
Best Tools List
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Midwest League in 2014
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the San Diego Padres in 2014
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the San Diego Padres in 2013