Smith led team in homers, RBI (STAFF/PAM DAVIS)
Three of the Chicago Cubs’ affiliates were affected by promotions Thursday. The biggest was infielder Marquez Smith, who was promoted to Class AA Tennessee from Class High-A Daytona after batting .260 with five home runs -- tops in the Florida State League -- and 18 RBI in 15 games.
Daytona manager Buddy Bailey said Smith was well deserving of the promotion.
“If you look at what he did last year, he had 17 home runs between here and Peoria,” Bailey said. “He got off to a good start (this season) and he wasn’t even in the opening night lineup. He got in and took advantage of it and next thing you know, within a month he’s got a promotion.”
Smith, 24, made 12 starts at third base for Daytona, and one start at second base. Bailey said Smith’s promotion also had to do with position needs at Double-A.
“I’m sure (Tennessee) needed an infielder, and that’s part of the reason we played him at second base (Wednesday) -- because I knew they were looking for somebody in there with double switches and they needed guys who could play more than one position,” said Bailey.
“He had second base in his history, and I don’t think he played it any here last year, so that’s why we got him in there. It happened sooner than I thought it was going to happen, but now I feel good that we got him a game at second so that he could get a feel for it. He also played first base during spring training, so he has played more than one position since the season has started.”
Smith spent most of last season at Peoria, batting .295 with 14 home runs, 17 doubles and 49 RBI in 84 games before being moved up to Daytona, where he hit .237 with 10 doubles and three home runs in 38 games. He was an eighth-round Cubs draft pick from Clemson in 2007.
Smith opened this season with a 10-game hit streak.
“He had driven in most of the runs here and when you look around, there really isn’t even a close second to that,” Bailey said. “We don’t have anybody that’s had his RBI total, and we don’t have anybody that’s got his home run total.”
Smith was 1-for-5 with a two-run single in his Double-A debut on Thursday at Huntsville.
To coincide with the move, INF Matt Camp was promoted from Tennessee to Class AAA Iowa. Camp, 23, batted .298 (14-for-47) with three doubles and five RBI in 14 games for Tennessee. Chicago drafted Camp in the 13th round from North Carolina State in 2006.
Camp was 2-for-5 with a stolen base in his Triple-A debut on Thursday at Memphis.
INF Jake Opitz was expected to join Daytona from extended spring training. Opitz, 22, was a 12th-round draft pick from Nebraska in 2008. He batted .168 in 57 games a season ago between Class Low-A Boise and Peoria.
InsideTheIvy.com correspondent Corey Ann Dobridnia in Daytona Beach contributed to this report.