Pos: Corner OF
Acquired: Via trade with the Texas Rangers along with catcher Manuel Pina for pitcher Danny Gutierrez in 2009.
Tim Smith was acquired las September for pitching prospect Danny Gutierrez, who has since been suspended for 50 games due to performance enhancing drug use. Gutierrez claims that the drugs were cleared by a doctor, but he simply failed to go through the process to get them cleared by major league baseball. Whether or not this is the truth, it still gives the feeling that Gutierrez isn't taking professional baseball as seriously as one would like. Add this to the rumors that Gutierrez (like former Royals prospect Dan Cortes) has been in trouble with the law on several occasions since joining the organization then I believe it is a good idea to remove the bad seed from the pot of pitching prospects. I also approve of the Royals dealing from a current strength in efforts to add some upper level hitting prospects into an organization that seriously lacks in the department.
So let's look at one of the two prospects that was acquired in the trade: Tim Smith. Smith has never overwhelmed scouts with his tools as he possesses average speed and defensive range with an average arm. He has displayed plus gap power and a great line drive swing in his time in the minors with a career triple slash of .305/.373/.448. Keep in mind though that those numbers are helped by his time in the hitter's heave California League as a 23 year old with a triple slash of .333/.413/.475. Smith has a large swing, so as he continues to develop I could see some of that gap power turning into home run power and the guy become a 10-15 home run per year guy.
Smith doesn't have the tools to be a star, but with his current hitting abilities and his ability to work counts he probably has the ceiling of a starting outfielder and the floor of a AAAA stop gap sort of guy. I like his slash lines so far and I'm looking forward to watch him in 2010, when I expect him to either return for a short stop in the Texas League or begin the year in the Pacific Coast League. If Smith can continue to hit as he has thus far in his career and if he can stay healthy, then Smith is a sleeper candidate for a September call-up this season.