When Pavin Smith was called up to the big leagues, he, admittedly, couldn’t sleep that night.
“I had no idea what was going to happen,” Smith says via FaceTime. “I didn’t know how anything was run. I just didn’t want to step on any toes.”
A first baseman and outfielder, Smith has worked out well for the Diamondbacks. He’s become the D-backs’ unlikely hero. He comes through in a clutch and makes highlight-worthy plays.
Ask him about it and he shrugs it off modestly. That’s the way Smith plays. He puts his head down and does his job.
Sports journalists have pegged Smith for a Rookie of the Year candidate.
“Obviously, it feels good to be playing well,” he says with a smile. “That’s the goal — to play as well as you can and try to help the team win. Hopefully, we get a couple more of those wins.”
The recently married Smith prepared for the 2021 season by working out in Tampa with fellow ballplayers who have the same agent. The workouts helped Smith pave the way for success. However, he’s not one to adhere to goals.
“I’m more of a guy who takes it week by week, day by day,” Smith says. “I hope to get better every day and see where that leads me, instead of setting a certain number I’d like to reach. By the end of the year, I want to look back and feel like I had a certain amount of success.”
A Florida native, Smith is learning his way around the Valley. He enjoys Scottsdale, especially Old Town and Blanco’s Tacos and Tequila. In the offseason, he golfs with friends, goes boating on the ocean in his home state of Florida or plays Call of Duty.
Smith has always been passionate about baseball. He played basketball as well, but baseball was always his “No. 1.”
“By the time I was 8 or 9, I knew I wanted to be a Major League Baseball player and not have to do anything else,” he says.
First base is his calling, but he also subs in the outfield. In college, he mastered leftfield, but he had not played centerfield until the Nationals series earlier this season.
Aside from baseball, he’s a family man. After he was taken seventh overall out of University of Virginia in the 2017 MLB draft, he paid off his parents’ mortgage. The Diamondbacks’ first-round draft pick can obviously keep a secret.
“I just decided on that for a little Christmas present,” he says. “I knew in September that I was going to do it, and I have to wait three or four months to tell them.”