During Extended Spring Training, Smith worked hard to eliminate the bad habits that he developed throughout his years at University City High School.
"I felt good," Smith said. "I had a lot of work to do like taking away my leg kick, which I developed in high school. Other than that I've been working with the hitting coaches we have here and I felt good. I've been trying to stay up the middle with the line drives."
It technically may not be Smith's first year of professional ball with the Yankees, but he is still working to keep up with the speed of the game here in the Gulf Coast League. Hitting coach Edwar Gonzalez is pleased with his improvements thus far.
"He had a big leg kick in high school and he was able to get away with it when he was in high school," Gonzalez said. "He's got a good swing, but here with the velocity, it's a big adjustment to make and that's pretty much what he did.
"He eliminated his leg kick, worked a lot on simplifying his load and getting ready to hit. He's getting better at seeing the ball so he'll be hitting the ball better."
Smith has been working hard both in the gym and on the field. The 2013 GCL season has just begun and in just eight games Smith has had 29 at-bats and holds an average of .310.
"He's one of the guys that's improved the most, especially from when he first showed up to now," Gonzalez said. "He's slimmed down a lot. He's working out and losing weight. He's working on his body and his swing is so much better than it was.
"He's simplified his swing a lot and he's making great adjustments at the plate. He's starting to get better at recognizing the pitches. He looks so much better and I accredit that to him because he's really working hard."
Now 19 years old, Smith hopes to hit around .300, and so far he's had a hot start to the season.
"I want to get my goals straight," Smith said. "I want to win a championship here and if I'm ready hopefully they'll move me up."
Gonzalez knows there is room for Smith to develop, but projects that there may be a possibility we could see Smith as a power hitter in the lineup down the road.
"My projection for Smith is that eventually he could be a power hitter once he gets stronger and develops into his body," Gonzalez stated. "With the strength he has he can really impact the ball and with that power I think he could really be a weapon in the lineup sometime in the future."
Smith hasn't seen anytime catching this season either in Extended Spring Training or in the Gulf Coast League, but has been moving between first and third base in the early going.
"Third base has been going good," Smith said. "They've been moving me between first and third. It's different, but I'm getting the hang of it pretty quickly.
"I played third in high school a little bit, but mainly it's just been getting the footwork down, getting the throw where it needs to be and under control."
The athlete maintains a respectable attitude towards the shift of positions and is happy to work wherever the Yankees need him.
"It's basically just working with where they'd like me to be," Smith commented. "I'll probably be working on first mostly because we've got a pretty good third baseman. If they've got me on third then I'll just do what they've taught me."
Despite the daily shift positions Smith is "stoked" and "ready to go" this GCL season.
"He's just got to keep working on what he's doing, which is working hard in the gym and out here on the field," Gonzalez said. "He's working as hard as he can. Whatever the season's outcome is, it is what it is, but I think it'll be great because of the work he's put in."
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TAMPA, FL – Dalton Smith was drafted as a catcher in the 36th round last year and joined the Yankees GCL team late in the 2012 season. The right-handed batter, who weighs 205 and stands at 6-foot-3, ended his first GCL season with an average of .208 and just 24 at-bats in eight games. Since then Smith has trimmed up his physique, simplified his swing, and even changed positions.
Dalton Smith has changed his body, his swing, and his position so far in his first full season.