Prospect Countdown #65 : Michael Smith

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #65 : Right-Handed Pitcher, Michael Smith (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

Michael Smith, Right-Handed Pitcher

HT : 6'0
WT : 195
DOB : January 31, 1990 (25), in Mansfield, Texas
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Dallas Baptist University (Dallas, TX)
Acquired : Drafted in 29th Round of 2013 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #93


Some young men are blessed to be good people, and some are blessed to become outstanding baseball players. Then there's the rare group where a young man has both the qualities. Michael Smith possesses both the qualities of being a good man and good pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels. Whether he's coaching special education students, or battling one-on-one against premier prospects, Smith is by far one of our favorites to put his name in our countdown.


SCOUTING REPORT:

There's a certain mentality that can really drive a relief pitcher, and it's his ability to compete and hate the batter he's facing. It's not actual hatred to the person, but just the object that happens to be a player with a bat in his hand. Smith has this ability.

There aren't many pitchers in the Angels system that have the grind and desire to record an out. One-on-one, Smith is hard to matchup against because he'll go right at you, challenge you, and in most cases, he'll win due to his confidence that allows him to know he'll get the out.

Smith's arsenal consist of four-pitches, but none appear more often than his sinker and slider. Smith's sinking-fastball has a true sink - as opposed to run - to it, and has been a large part of his success, creating early and weak contact.

Smith has used his slider as an "out pitch" but has never truly been known as a strikeout pitcher due to his aggressive style with his sinker. However, as his slider has developed with a harsh break, his strikeout rates have increased drastically.

Smith also comes equipped with a four-seam fastball and circle changeup that are seen against left-handed hitters to balance out his arsenal. Both Smith's fastballs sit in high 80's to mid 90's, primarily around 90-92, touching 94-95 when he fires back.

Smith repeats his mechanics with ease, which in result leads to good fastball command and an ability to control the strike zone. Control has never been a problem with Smith with his aggressive style, but it is primarily attributed to his command of both his sinker and slider.

Smith has some harsh movements in his delivery, with some snap to his elbow, which in turn has resulted in two Tommy John surgeries. One following his freshman year at DBU, and his second coming near the end of this past season.

VIDEO : ieProSports

Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

In three seasons at Dallas Baptist, Smith went a combined 11-3 in 75 games, holding a 4.41 ERA and 1.517 WHIP. Smith never struggled with control, and it showed in college while he walked just 3.33 per nine, and struck out 7.69 per nine.

Smith was the highlight relief pitcher for rookie Orem upon being drafted, posting a 1.95 ERA and 1.265 WHIP, while holding a 4-2 record. Smith allowed just one run in his final 10 innings pitched over the season, and three total in his final 20.

Smith's sophomore professional season saw his numbers drop, but not to anything drastic. Between both Single-A affiliates, Smith posted a 4.01 ERA and 4-3 record. Smith was plagued with a five-run outing that spiked his ERA, and without it he would have held a 3.13 ERA, and allowed just two runs in his final 20 innings pitched over the season.

This past season, Smith was named a Cal League All-Star. Prior to the All-Star Game, Smith held a 1.80 ERA, 5-0 record and had walked just three batters in 30 innings. Smith held bats to a .204/.221/.231 slash before the All-Star break. Four games after the All-Star Game, Smith's season ended and Tommy John surgery would be required.


EXPECTED FUTURE:

There is no set date for when Michael Smith will return to the mound from Tommy John surgery, but a full year's recovery would put his expected return in July of next season. He'll be 26-years-old by that time without time in Double-A.

The Angels very easily could have missed a serious opportunity in not moving Smith properly through the minors. He may be older than the average talent, but there is little doubt that Smith has the potential to reach the Majors. Don't let age fool you, talent is talent and recording any out is still an out.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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