Florida Gulf Coast 2014 Recruiting Profile: Devin Smeltzer

When a pitcher and batter duel in a long at bat, it's often referred to as a battle. While Eagles signee Devin Smeltzer experienced this at Bishop Eustace Prep, the 6-foot-4 southpaw encountered a more perilous battle off the diamond.

At the age of 10, Smeltzer was diagnosed with cancer and was held out of school for long periods of time. "I was diagnosed and then went through a year of treatments and then it went into remission," Smeltzer said.

Throughout his battle with cancer however, the Voorhees, NJ never left left the game of baseball.

"It gave me a normal life because I couldn't go to school. Just being able to play the game kept me active and kept me being a kid," Smeltzer said.

Eventually, two Decembers ago, his cancer was completely cured. Despite that, Smeltzer takes the lessons with him whenever he takes the mound.

"It makes me treat every game like its my last," Smeltzer said.

Sticking to 'America's past time', he developed into a college and professional prospect. His fastball reached the low 90s and his slider has nasty break. Smeltzer's talent caught the eye of Perfect Game, and he was invited to the Perfect Game All American Classic.

"It was a blast and a ton of fun playing in a big park with the pro lifestyle," Smeltzer said.

Months earlier, Smeltzer had committed to Florida Gulf Coast.

"I had a good relationship with the coaches. After my visit, I just fell in love with the campus," Smeltzer said. "I like what the coaches do, it's like a big family."

After seeing six players selected in last year's MLB Draft, FGCU witnessed the selections of Michael Suchy, Zack Tillery, and Ryan Atwood this season.

"It's in a great spot for the draft, being around all the minor league and spring training stadiums," Smeltzer said. "The coaches really attempt and work hard to get you to the next level."

Smeltzer and fellow southpaw Chris Sale, the Eagles highest drafted player, have some rough similarities.

"We both have some funky deliveries," Smeltzer said. "I'd love to throw it as hard as he does one day and hopefully with hard work it will get there."

The San Diego Padres selected Smeltzer in the 33rd round of this year's MLB Draft; the second of two Eagles signees drafted.

"I'm taking it day by day. I look at is a win, win. I can either get my pro career started or be at an awesome place with awesome coaches and potentially start the road to Omaha as soon as I get down there," Smeltzer said prior to the draft.


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