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MLB Draft 2017: Diamondbacks pick 1B Pavin Smith No. 7 overall

Duke infielder Jack Labosky (6) makes it back to first ahead of the pickoff throw to Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith (10) during the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament in Louisville, Ky., Thursday, May, 25, 2017. (Timothy D. Easley/the ACC.com via AP)

To begin executive vice president and GM Mike Hazen’s first MLB Draft leading the front office, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith with the No. 7 overall pick.

Ranked No. 7 among Baseball America’s top prospects, Smith hit for a .342 average with 13 home runs and just 12 strikeouts during his 2017 season. His strikeout rate of one per every 19 at-bats ranked fourth-highest in college baseball last season.

Smith was ranked by Baseball America as the third-best first baseman in the draft class and was ranked the No. 1 college prospect in terms of his best tool — hitting.

MinorLeagueBall.com’s John Sickels writes that the lefty isn’t far off from contributing at the MLB level because offensively and defensively, he has few flaws.

Defensively, Smith is an asset at first base, with plus mobility, field awareness, soft hands, and (as befits a former pitcher) a strong throwing arm. He lacks running speed and is not a threat to steal, although he’s a good enough athlete that some scouts think he can play left or right field.

Teams picking at the very top of the draft may want a player who has more speed or who plays a premium defensive position, but overall few players offer the combination of safety and upside possessed by Smith.

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