SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
31. Armani Smith, OF
Highest Level: High-A
Acquired: Draft (2019)
Future-Value Grade: 40
Armani Smith has been one of my favorite sleepers in the system since he was drafted back in 2019. Like the SF Giants 2019 first-round pick Hunter Bishop, Smith struggled to consistently tap into his power potential until a swing change unlocked his bat his junior year. Smith was only scratching the surface of his power in college. If he continues optimizing his launch angle, he could become a big-league power threat.
Smith is a good athlete and probably has the range to handle right field but an arm that could push him to left. Unlikely to ever see time in center, though, his bat will have to carry him through the minors.
Smith began 2021 at Low-A, where he hit .339./365/.627 in 15 games and quickly forced his way to High-A. At Eugene, Smith has posted a productive .281/.349/.438 triple-slash, but has struck out in more than 30% of his plate appearances and generated just under 13 homers per 500 plate appearances.
Smith was young for his draft class when the Giants selected him in the seventh round, but he is 23 now. He’s producing well at High-A, even if there are some underwhelming peripherals, but he’ll need to continue refining his swing and approach to reach his 20+ homer potential.
While it could prevent Smith from becoming an everyday player, he’s exhibited some massive platoon splits early in his career. In 103 career plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, Smith has hit .376/.437/.731 with 16 extra-base hits, including six home runs. He has managed a much more pedestrian .278/.340/.398 line against same-sided pitchers. Smith’s pro sample is relatively small, but he’s beginning to look like a potential lefty-mashing corner outfielder.