Arizona takes ex-Gardens star Pavin Smith 7th overall in MLB Draft

Pavin Smith is headed to the desert.

The former Palm Beach Gardens star, who spent the last three years of his career playing college baseball for the Virginia Cavaliers, was selected seventh overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks on the first night of the MLB Draft on Monday.

“It feels amazing,” Smith said. “I’ve worked my whole life for this, and it’s just a dream come true. I’m blessed for the opportunity to go out and play baseball.”

Smith, whose Cavaliers were eliminated in regional play of the NCAA tournament, celebrated his selection with family and friends at his Jupiter home. Smith received a call notifying him the Diamondbacks would pick him shortly before his selection, then the crowd of more than 40 people erupted in cheers when his selection was announced on MLB Network.

“It’s a surreal moment,” Smith said. “It’s something you dream about as a kid, and it’s not real until it happens. It was awesome.”



The seventh overall selection has a recommended bonus value of $5,016,300, making it likely that Smith signs instead of returning to Virginia.

Smith starred at Palm Beach Gardens from 2011-14, and he was a two-time first-team All-Area pick.

“We knew he was pretty good, coming in as a freshman,” Palm Beach Gardens coach Joe Russo said. “We kept him on varsity, and I think he struck out three times the entire year. … From there, it just took off.”

At Virgina, Smith became one of the top hitters in college baseball during his three years — though he struggled slightly to end his career, making his father worry.

“I had more stress watching him play in April,” Smith’s father, Tim Smith, said. “He was one for his last 10.”

Pavin Smith on being picked by the @Dbacks.

— (((Lichtenstein))) (@ABLichtenstein) June 13, 2017

The slugging first baseman had a triple slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) of .325/.402/.514 to go with 28 career home runs during his career with the Cavaliers. As a junior, he set career highs with a .342 average, 13 home runs and a .427 on-base percentage this season.

Smith is one of at least 24 Palm Beach Gardens alumni, along with former teammate J.J. Schwarz (who likely will be drafted this week, as well) drafted out of the school, according to Baseball Reference’s database. Other drafted alumni include Taylor Motter and Chris Volstad, who also was a first-round pick.

“I knew he was good, but you just don’t expect your son to get to this level,” Tim Smith said. “It’s pretty cool.”

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