Like a lot of first baseman, Dominic Smith can hit, but he's also one of the best fielding first baseman in the country. The University of Southern California signee is expected to be a first-round selection in the June Amateur Major League Baseball Draft.
"He's too good at first base to play at designated hitter," said Wil Aaron, Smith's coach at Junipero Serra (Gardena, Calif.). "His hands are like magic. He's like the matrix out there. The other day, he fielded a bunt up the first base line. Domo charges the ball, fields it with his right (glove) hand and then reverses back, leaping to catch the runner on the foot. Unbelievable."
Aaron said Smith has matured as a hitter.
"I was close to benching him as a freshman, because he always wanted to hit the ball to right (Smith bats left-handed)," Aaron said. "All of a sudden, he bought into hitting to all fields and now he's one of the top hitters in the country."
VIDEO: Smith working out
Until June, when the postseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA boys baseball team will be announced, we’re taking a look at those who have either backed up the preseason hype or played their way into ALL-USA consideration.
This week’s player: Junipero Serra (Gardena, Calif.), first baseman Dominic Smith
2013 stats thus far: Smith, who is 6-0, 210 pounds and bats left-handed, was hitting .492 with 35 RBI, a .625 on-base percentage and seven homers through Monday. Because of a shoulder injury, he's been used sparingly as a pitcher, with a 2.04 earned run average and 34 strikeouts in 24 innings.
Best Games: Went 3-for-3 with a homer and five RBI in a 23-14 playoff defeat of Knight (Palmdale) on May 21, falling a triple shy of the cycle. On May 3 against St. Paul (Santa Fe Springs), he was walked in his first three trips to the plate, then hit a three-run homer to right in a 7-1 victory.
Others’ Take: “Big dogs come through when the pressure is on. He's a pressure player. He has a second half. He's the Jordan, the Kobe. He wants to be the one and he's not afraid of taking over." — Serra coach Wil Aaron.
Look Out For: Elk Grove, Calif., first baseman Ryan "Rowdy" Tellez. The 6-4, 224-pound senior was hitting .463 with 35 RBI and eight homers through Monday.
Follow Jim Halley on Twitter @jimhalley.