Scouts floated statements like "steal of the 2023 MLB Draft" and "best pure hitter in the Texas high school ranks" when talking about our #14th ranked prospect, Aidan Smith. The 6'3" outfielder flashed across two Mariners' farm system levels.
Smith landed a $1.2M signing bonus to join the Mariners and quickly asserted himself in the Arizona Complex League. In eight games, he slashed a solid .261/.433/.868, amassing 128 wRC+. Despite a reasonably high strikeout rate (26.7), the Mariners Player Development staff aggressively moved Smith up the ladder to Modesto for the remarkable playoff run.
He'd struggle at Modesto, slashing .184/.259/.586, ultimately losing playing time to fellow 2023 draftee Johnny Farmelo. Before they shut Smith down for the season, he provided above-average defense in centerfield and flashed doubles power. The strikeouts followed him as the Texas teen racked up 16 punchouts in 14 games and only four walks. The 55-grade hit tool must be on display to realize his potential.
If you are looking for offensive comparisions I'd throw out Trevor Story, and not just because Smith trained with Story's hitting coach. The swing and offensive profile are very similar, and scouts believe if he can tap into the hit tool a bit more his 60-grade power will play out to 20 homers - 20 steals in the big leagues.
The strikeouts in 2023 probably means Smith spends most of the 2024 season at Modesto. That wouldn't be a bad thing because the tools are there. As far as high-reward draft picks go, he's near the top of the list.