Image credit: Campbell Smithwick (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)
Of all the class of 2023 catchers to make it to their respective college campuses, Campbell Smithwick has a chance to be the best of the bunch. Smithwick starred for Oxford High School (Oxford, Miss.), raking his way to a potential top-five round selection after hitting .463 with 22 extra-base hits and a .616 on-base percentage in his senior season. While he received interest as early as the third round, the 6-foot, 190-pound Smithwick’s commitment to his hometown Rebels never wavered.
Lauded for his offensive skill set, Smithwick is a bat-first catcher with an advanced pure hit tool and budding power. He sets up in the box with an open front side and high handset. Smithwick has a noticeable barrel tip with a slight load and small stride. With two strikes, he eliminates both his open front side and stride to maximize his ability to move the baseball.
Smithwick has a rhythmic, line-drive oriented swing with a direct path to contact and above average feel for the barrel. He has advanced pitch recognition skills and low chase rates, which makes for a sound approach. Smithwick this fall has started to show off his power potential and has already blasted four home runs, his farthest traveling an impressive 457 feet with an exit velocity of 110 MPH. Most of his damage is done to the pull side and will continue to grow into more power as he matures physically.
Smithwick is a plus defender behind the dish. He moves well laterally, consistently corrals balls in the dirt, and has a strong, accurate arm. Smithwick has a quick transfer and his throws carry through the base. He has a lengthy track record of handling premium velocity and quality breaking balls given his experience playing for both Team USA’s 18U National Team and the Evoshield Canes.
Following the departure of Calvin Harris (4th round, Chicago White Sox), Smithwick is poised to be coach Mike Bianco’s starting catcher on opening day. He has been one of Ole Miss’ most productive hitters this fall and is on track to hit in the top half of the order.
When he is next eligible for the draft in 2026, Smithwick will still be young for the class as he will have just turned 21 years old. Catchers who can hit are hard to come by, and if Smithwick is able to have a quality three-year career he could be selected in the first round. Smithwick is already signed to play for the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod League this summer, but he figures to be squarely in the mix for Team USA’s Collegiate National Team.