14. Jake Smolinski - Shortstop - 5'11 - 185lbs - Throws: Right - Bats: Right
(last year: NR)
Jake Smolinski was drafted by the Nationals in the 2nd round of the 2007 amateur draft. With a commitment to Clemson where he would try to play both quarterback on the football team, and shortstop on the baseball team, it took the Nats offering $452,500 to get Jake to sign.
He had an impressive debut as an 18 year old in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .305/.387/.410 in 105 at bats. Unfortunately, his season was cut short after he fouled a ball of his foot and suffered a small break. Smolinski split time in 2008 between the GCL, Vermont and Hagerstown, having most of his success in Vermont. Again his season was cut short as he suffered a knee injury late in the season and would be out six to eight months.
He lacks the range to play shortstop in pro ball, so Washington put him in left field. Early Marlins rumors suggest they may give him a longer look at shortstop before making his final destination left field. His setup and stance are quiet and balanced. He rarely chases pitches out of the strike zone, and punishes strikes when ahead in the count. Smolinski has good power to the gaps and figures to hit for some home run power as he matures. He’s an average runner, but because he is smart, he could steal 10 bases a year. Because of his latest knee injury, Smolinski won’t be back until late May. He should spend the entire season in Greensboro after a short stint in extended Spring Training in preparation for full season ball.