One SF Giants outfield prospect received some good news on Sunday as his strong start to the 2022 season has been rewarded. Armani Smith has been promoted to Double-A, per the team's Twitter account, as he inches closer to the majors.
SF Giants promote power-hitting outfield prospect to Double-A
The Giants originally drafted Smith in the seventh round of the 2019 draft out of the University of California in Santa Barbara, California. Given that this is his second full professional season, reaching Double-A is an appropriate benchmark.
The right-handed bat began the 2021 season in Low-A where he quickly proved that that was too conservative of an assignment. With the San Jose Giants, Smith registered a .339/.365/.627 line (148 wRC+) with three doubles, one triple, and four home runs in 59 plate appearances.
He was promoted to High-A and continued to post up respectable numbers. Across 288 plate appearances, Smith slashed .279/.351/.442 (113 wRC+) with eight home runs, 45 RBI, and 43 runs.
Prior to the 2022 season, he had an impressive showing in the Cactus League where he blasted two home runs in 12 plate appearances. Despite these strong results, Smith returned to High-A for a second stint.
Similar to the beginning of last season, he proved again that the assignment was too conservative as he produced an .802 OPS with four home runs, 15 RBI, and 12 runs in 88 plate appearances. This included a strong 15.9 percent walk rate against a 27.3 percent strikeout rate. He has good power but some swing-and-miss to his game as well.
Eric Logenhagen of Fangraphs recognized Smith as an honorable mention during his Giants Top-40 Prospect List, citing his raw power:
"Smith, who’s from the East Bay and played college ball at UCSB, is built like an NFL tight end and has big power. He made a leap in his draft year and I thought he looked good during 2020 instructs."- Armani Smith
The 23-year-old outfield prospect recorded one walk in four plate appearances in his debut with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. The Eastern League has proven to be a tough offensive environment due to the improved pitching, cold temperatures, and spacious ballpark dimensions.
Smith has excelled at every level thus far, but Double-A will be a new challenge that will likely take time to adjust. Power-hitting prospects like David Villar and Sean Roby have performed well in the Eastern League recently and Smith could be the next in line.