Demond Lamont Smith
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 180 lb.
- High School Eisenhower High School
Outfielder Demond Smith has stolen over 615 bases in a minor league career during which he has won two batting titles. He was drafted in the 6th round of the 1990 amateur draft by the New York Mets. He spend 4 years in the Mets organization, playing two years in Rookie ball and two years in A ball. In those years he managed to get into 150 games, hitting .250 with only 3 home runs, even though he did steal 54 bases. He hit .261/~.347/.366 with 17 steals in 23 tries for the 1990 GCL Mets, .250/~.320/.440 with 16 steals in 35 games for the 1991 Kingsport Mets and .249/~.316/.339 for the 1992 Pittsfield Mets but only stealing 21 of 36 tries and leading the New York-Penn League in times caught stealing. In '93, Smith was 0 for 2 for the Capital City Bombers. He was released due to injures and lack of batting skills in the middle of 1994.
He was soon picked up by the California Angels to finish out the 1994 season. He hit .280/.375/.416 for the Boise Hawks, stealing 26 in 35 tries and hitting 7 triples, one behind Northwest League leader Chris Latham. He only batted .115/.233/.192 in 12 games for the Lake Elsinore Storm and was 0 for 4 in steal attempts.
Now healthy, over the next year Smith dominated Class A and Class A+, hitting well over .300 with 16 home runs and a total of 54 stolen bases in 71 tries. In 1995, he led the Angels minor league system in average (.344), runs (96) and steals (51). Smith hit .341/~.401/.530 for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, .351/~.396/.574 with the Storm and .313/~.375/.594 in 8 games for the West Michigan Whitecaps after being traded to the Oakland A's for Mike Aldrete. Smith barely won the Midwest League batting title - he did not have enough plate appearances when he was called up to Lake Elsinore, but the 8 games with West Michigan gave him enough appearances that his .338 average led the MWL. Smith made the Midwest League All-Star team and Baseball America rated him the league's best baserunner.
Smith was promoted to the AA Huntsville Stars in 1996, where he turned in a solid year, hitting .260/~.341/.421 with 9 home runs and 30 stolen bases (caught 15 times, though) and earned a late season promotion to AAA. He appeared in two games, going 1 for 3 for the Edmonton Trappers. He tied for the Southern League lead in times caught stealing but led the SL with 14 triples.
In 1997 Smith was returned to AA and the message was simple - "strikeout less, walk more" (he had fanned 89 times in '96). The A's felt with his speed that a little more patience at the plate would provide incredible results. Smith did just that hitting .279 with a .405 on base percentage with 8 homers (slugging .452) and 31 stolen bases in 40 tries in just 80 games and was promoted to AAA for the last 2 months of the season. However in AAA, he reinjured his hamstring and was limited to only 151 at bats. Playing hurt, he only managed to steal 10 bases in AAA (only caught three times though) and hit just .219/~.322/.391 with 5 home runs. Baseball America named him the best defensive outfielder in the Southern League that year.
Smith became a free agent in 1998 and signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox. This would be his fourth organization. He was sent to AA for 1/2 the season and turned in another solid season hitting .308/.404/.471 with the Birmingham Barons and stealing 25 bases (caught 14 times, though) in 80 games. After the All-Star break, he was again promoted to AAA. Again, Smith pulled his hamstring within 10 days of the promotion and would miss the rest of the year, having gone just 1 for 17 with the Calgary Cannons.
A free agent again in 1999, he signed with the Atlanta Braves. At 26, Smith and never really playing above class AA, Smith spent the next two seasons in AA with the Braves, again hitting .300 with 60 stolen bases. He batted .305/~.387/.452 for the '99 Greenville Braves (31 SB in 44 tries) and was sixth in the SL in batting average. His 12 outfield assists tied Kurt Airoso for the league lead. In 2000, Demond batted .274/.377/.473 for Greenville and stole 30 of 44.
Smith began a long stretch in the Mexican League in 2001. He hit .266/.374/.443 for the Tabasco Cowboys and .328/.414/.551 for the Monterrey Sultans. His 9 triples tied Albino Contreras for the league lead and he led the LMB with 36 steals; surprisingly, it was the first time he had his league. Bubba Smith (no relation) was his teammate, the first of five years that the two-Smith attack was at work for Monterrey.
In '02, Demond hit .315/.390/.438 with a Mexican League-best 41 steals in 53 tries. He also hit .300/.398/.400 in brief action for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. In 2003, Smith put up a .313/.414/.453 line for Monterrey and swiped 53 of 71. Winning his third consecutive LMB steal crown, he became only the second player ever to accomplish that; Mike Cole had won four straighr from 1987-90.
Smith won his second batting crown in 2004, nine years after his first. He batted .406/.475/.674 for Monterrey and beat out Noe Munoz by 14 points. He stole 30 but was caught 18 times and was 24 steals behind league leader Rontrez Johnson. He only hit .227/.322/.334 in a brief stint with Fargo-Moorhead though he set a career high with 18 homers overall that year.
2005 saw Smith slip to .322/.402/.522 with 23 SB in 34 tries. His seven triples tied for second in the Liga. Moving to the 2006 Laguna Cowboys, he had a .353/.417/.609 campaign before joining the Reno Silver Sox in August.
In 2007, Smith hit .323/.393/.551 with 9 triples, 40 steals and 19 homers for the Dorados de Chihuahua. He led the Liga in steals, was third in triples and led in runs (97). The veteran batted .277/.388/.391 with 38 steals (in 57 tries) and 8 triples. He led the league in steals for the fifth time and tied Jose Macias and Iván Terrazas for second in triples, one behind Quincy Foster. Smith became the first five-time Mexican League leader in steals.
In 2008, Smith played for Chihuahua and the Calgary Vipers of the independent Golden Baseball League. With Chihuahua, he hit .277 with 38 stolen bases in 102 games. With Calgary, he hit .229 in nine games played.