Learning to how to deal with failure is a crucial stage for the development of any Minor Leaguer. Pavin Smith found that out this season.
After a slow start in which D-Backs' No. 6 prospect hit .162, he's gearing up for a strong finish with a .321/.361/.429 slash line in August. On Saturday, he went 4-for-5 with four RBIs to lead Class A Advanced Visalia to a 13-2 romp over Stockton at Banner Island Ballpark.
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"I think with starting slow, I've never not had success my entire life and learning how to deal with the failure was key," Smith said. "Going into years in the future, when you start to struggle you don't panic because you've been there. But I think this year I think I panicked too early, messing with things, instead of just riding the wave and going along with the flow a little bit more."
The high expectations of an assignment to the hitter-friendly California League made his sluggish start that much more disappointing.
"I got in a habit of comparing myself to others and chasing results, which is a bad road to go down, instead of just worrying about myself and taking each game one at a time," Smith said. "It's a long season, it's a hard game as it is, but it's even harder when you're constantly thinking about what you can do in the future and playing the 'what if?' game."
Finishing the season strongly would be key for his confidence moving forward.
"Going into the year, I had expectations to the season and, obviously, I didn't start the way I wanted. But having a strong finish would teach me a lot and would almost be a blessing in disguise going into next year and moving forward with my career," Smith said.
The 2017 first-round pick singled up the middle off starter Zack Erwin (8-9) to plate a run in the first inning and roped a leadoff double to center off the left-hander in the third. He lifted a sacrifice fly to center to plate D-backs No. 9 prospect Drew Ellis, who tripled, and greeted southpaw Will Gilbert with another RBI single to center in the sixth.
Smith notched his season-high fourth hit with a single to right off Gilbert in the eighth.
Seventh-ranked Marcus Wilson went 2-for-4 with three runs scored for the Rawhide, who totaled 15 hits. Starter Matt Peacock (4-3) notched his first win since July 8, limiting Stockton to a run on four hits with three strikeouts over five innings.