Kevan Alan Smith
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 240 lb.
- School University of Pittsburgh
- High School Seneca Valley High School
- Debut September 1, 2016
Kevan Smith made the majors in 2016.
Smith was known more for football in baseball in high school; Scout.com ranked him as one of the top 50 high school quarterbacks following his senior season. He signed on to Pitt (which had turned another Kevan, Kevan Barlow, into a NFL player), but was redshirted in 2006. In 2007, he completed 56.2% of his passes for 415 yards, but had 4 interceptions to one touchdown. He had to leave two of his five games due to injury. The next season, Smith was just 1 for 3 in passing for 4 yards, behind Bill Stull and Pat Bostick on the depth chart. He decided to switch from football to baseball.
Baseball at Pitt
Smith hit .363/.425/.520 in 32 games in his first season, 2009, playing baseball in college. Only All-American Chris Sedon had a better average than Smith. In 2010, he hit .361/.422/.511 with 59 runs in 55 games and had no errors in 119 chances at catcher. He played primarily DH, with Cory Brownsten at catcher. Kevan was All-Big East Conference at DH, while Brownsten took those honors at catcher. When Cory got drafted that season, Smith became the starter for 2011.
The 22-year-old backstop batted .397/.465/.675 with 59 runs and 56 RBI in 54 games; he also stole 10 bases in 11 tries. Opponents stole at a 80% success rate. He led the Big East in runs, tied Joe Panik for the best average in the conference and ranked among the top 25 in NCAA Division I in both slugging and average. He was All-Big East at catcher. He finished 5th in Panther history in average (.375), 8th in total bases (313) and 10th in RBI (123).
The Chicago White Sox took him in the 7th round of the 2011 amateur draft, the 7th-highest pick in school history. He was the first of six Pitt players taken, tying the school record - Ray Black, David Chester, John Schultz, Travis Whitmore and Corey Baker followed him. He was also one of four Seneca Valley High School alumni or current players taken, following Cory Mazzoni and ahead of Tyler Bream and Jack Graham
Scouted by Phil Gulley, Smith was signed for a reported $60,000. Assigned to the Bristol White Sox. He debuted on June 21 against the Greeneville Astros, homering, going 2 for 4 and scoring twice. He kept on hitting - after eight games, he was batting .394/.459/.576 with 8 runs and 7 RBI in 8 games. He hit .396/.482/.740 with 32 RBI in 28 games for Bristol and .318/.417/.523 in 30 games after being promoted to the Great Falls Voyagers. Baseball America rated him as the #17 prospect in the Pioneer League and #20 in the Appalachian League. He had 8 RBI and a .478 average in five postseason games to power Great Falls to the Pioneer League title.
Smith continued his climb up the chain in 2012 with the Kannapolis Intimidators (.282/.344/.421 in 86 G) and Winston-Salem Dash (.273/.314/.494, 23 RBI in 22 G), throwing out 33% of attempted base-stealers. He was 4th in the White Sox chain with 30 doubles and 5th with 83 RBI. He spent all of 2013 with the Dash, batting .286/.370/.464 with 26 doubles and 73 RBI. He tied Trayce Thompson for 6th in the White Sox system in RBI and was 9th with 66 runs. He was 10th in the Carolina League in average, 7th in OBP (between Joey Wendle and Rougned Odor), 4th in slugging (between Chris Curley and Odor), 3rd in OPS (after Mike Ohlman and Wendle) and 7th in RBI (between Jeremy Farrell and Drew Robinson). Baseball America rated him the best defensive catcher in the Chicago chain.
With the 2014 Birmingham Barons, he kept on hitting well, at .290/.376/.437 and threw out 33.3% of attempted base runners. He was 8th in the Southern League in OBP, between Nick Shaw and Patrick Kivlehan, and was 6th in the White Sox chain in that department. He was 11th in the SL in average. He did not make the All-Star team as J.T. Realmuto was the catcher. He hit .244/.320/.378 for the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League. His numbers were down with the 2015 Charlotte Knights (.260/.330/.370) or he might have gotten a call to the big leagues with Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto not having great years in the majors.
On April 24, 2016, he was called up to the White Sox when Alex Avila went on the disabled list with a sore hamstring. He was scheduled to make his big league debut the next day, but injured himself while warming up for the game and also had to be placed on the DL. When he was ready to return to action a month later, the White Sox assigned him back to the AAA Charlotte Knights. He went back to the DL four days later and did not return to action until early July. He did make his debut when rosters expanded on September 1st. He was the first major leaguer from Pitt since Jason Conti's career ended in 2004, a longer gap that any point in the 21st Century. In his big league debut, he replaced Avila late in a 8-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins. In his lone at-bat, he lined out against Brandon Kintzler.