Former first-round pick Pavin Smith has seen his production steadily go downward since his 2021 rookie season. That year, he had a 98 wRC+, followed by just an 88 wRC+, then even lower in 2023. Because of that, Smith has an unlikely chance of making the D-Backs’ Opening Day roster.
Smith batted just .188/.317/.325 with a .293 wOBA and 81 wRC+ through 228 plate appearances. There were a few positives, like his 15.4% walk rate and sub-20% K% (19.7%), but he hit for little power, clocking in with a .137 isolated slugging percentage. Smith did have a .209 batting average on balls in play, suggesting some bad batted ball luck. His .329 xwOBA also suggests some improvement in the future. But Smith has yet to produce above-average numbers with the bat.
But Smith’s defense has not garnered many positive reviews either. He only played 65 innings at first base but had -3 defensive runs saved and -4 outs above average. He played 173 more innings in the outfield, where he had -3 DRS and -2 OAA. Smith has never graded out as an average defensive outfielder.
These are two positions the Diamondbacks have alternative options at. Christian Walker averages about 90% of games played a season since 2019, which is 150 games a year. Even if the D-Backs want a backup 1B, the D-Backs have Emmanuel Rivera, who can serve a similar role but does not have a minor league option remaining. The outfield is secured by Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Alek Thomas, and Corbin Carroll from left to right field. They have better alternatives, too, with the aforementioned McCarthy, Barrosa, and Fletcher.
Smith has a minor league option remaining, which lets the D-Backs send him back to the minor leagues. Because of that, he’s already starting his battle in Spring Training on the back foot. Given his primary positions are occupied by better players, it’s going to be extremely difficult to see Pavin getting a path to the Opening Day roster.