Smith Focusing On Slider

Egan Smith isn't a big name, or at least he isn't yet, but he's been a big part of the Lugnuts rotation this season. He and his coaches talk about what's in store for the young lefty now and in the future.

Smith has made 18 starts this season and has thrown 85.1 innings and this deep into the season he says his arm is still feeling good.

"I feel strong, I don't feel any fatigue yet," Smith said. "I know I've only got like seven more starts, but I feel strong. So, I'm happy about that."

"I think anytime you have a lefty with a chance to have four pitches, that's always a plus," Lansing Manager Mike Redmond said. "I don't know how crucial [his curveball] is with his development. His changeup is his best secondary pitch.

"Before he got injured, he was as good as anyone we had. Then he's had that setback with the injury and he's taken a bit longer to get comfortable back out there, but he's a competitor.

"He's got the makeup of a big-leaguer, now we just have to get his confidence and ability to keep the ball down and teach him how to pitch a little bit. But, that's the experience, he needs to keep logging the innings. He's done a good job for us."

Smith has the reputation for being a smart pitcher who isn't just a thrower and he knows his strengths and weaknesses.

"My changeup has always been my go to offspeed pitch, I'm working on my cutter," Smith said. "It's a new grip and new pitch for me for the last year. Curveball is coming around, I just need to tighten it up a little bit.

"Early in the game sometimes I leave the ball up and then I tend to settle in and go after it. You've gotta be headstrong out there on the mound because it can go wrong really quickly. I mean, errors, anything can bother you and take you out of the game, but you've just got to focus."

Pitching coaching Vince Horsman talked about the development of Smith's secondary offerings.

"The curveball is something that we continue to work on, but with him we try to keep it real simple," Horsman said. "Our primary focus at this time is keeping all of his pitches down and the development of his slider. I think that's going to be more important in his overall development and how far he goes along in the system.

"His fastball is good, his changeup is an average major league changeup. For Egan to have success at the higher levels I think it's going to be more about his slider than his curveball."

Smith knows how important his secondary offerings are for his future.

"It's one thing I need to work on in my side sessions," he said. "Just trying to tighten it up, it's my main focus right now because I know I've got a good changeup and good fastball. I just need to get lefties out more because that's what a left-handed pitcher should do."

Horsman notes that choosing between the slider and the curveball is common for some pitchers at this level.

"In Egan's case, I just think his slider plays better," he said. "His curveball is a little rolly and he's already shown flashes of having a pretty decent slider and one that could be effective with a little more development even at the major league level. So, instead of trying to throw both, which is difficult to do, we're trying to keep it to just the one and that's going to be the slider primarily."

The overall mindset the coaches are instilling in Smith is to work down in the zone with all of his pitches.

"Our primary focus right now is to work his fastball and all of his pitches down in the zone," Horsman said. "We're also working on the development of his slider, which I think is going to be very important in his development and how far he goes in the system.

"It's one thing to throw a lot of pitches, but we're looking at quality. Right now, his changeup is an average big league changeup. I think for him to succeed at the higher levels it's going to be more about his slider than it is about his curveball."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nSmith has made 18 starts this season and has thrown 85.1 innings and this deep into the season he says his arm is still feeling good.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel strong, I don't feel any fatigue yet,\" Smith said. \"I know I've only got like seven more starts, but I feel strong. So, I'm happy about that.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I think anytime you have a lefty with a chance to have four pitches, that's always a plus,\" Lansing Manager Mike Redmond said. \"I don't know how crucial [his curveball] is with his development. His changeup is his best secondary pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"Before he got injured, he was as good as anyone we had. Then he's had that setback with the injury and he's taken a bit longer to get comfortable back out there, but he's a competitor.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got the makeup of a big-leaguer, now we just have to get his confidence and ability to keep the ball down and teach him how to pitch a little bit. But, that's the experience, he needs to keep logging the innings. He's done a good job for us.\"
\r\n
\r\nSmith has the reputation for being a smart pitcher who isn't just a thrower and he knows his strengths and weaknesses.
\r\n
\r\n\"My changeup has always been my go to offspeed pitch, I'm working on my cutter,\" Smith said. \"It's a new grip and new pitch for me for the last year. Curveball is coming around, I just need to tighten it up a little bit.
\r\n
\r\n\"Early in the game sometimes I leave the ball up and then I tend to settle in and go after it. You've gotta be headstrong out there on the mound because it can go wrong really quickly. I mean, errors, anything can bother you and take you out of the game, but you've just got to focus.\"
\r\n
\r\nPitching coaching Vince Horsman talked about the development of Smith's secondary offerings.
\r\n
\r\n\"The curveball is something that we continue to work on, but with him we try to keep it real simple,\" Horsman said. \"Our primary focus at this time is keeping all of his pitches down and the development of his slider. I think that's going to be more important in his overall development and how far he goes along in the system.
\r\n
\r\n\"His fastball is good, his changeup is an average major league changeup. For Egan to have success at the higher levels I think it's going to be more about his slider than his curveball.\"
\r\n
\r\nSmith knows how important his secondary offerings are for his future.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's one thing I need to work on in my side sessions,\" he said. \"Just trying to tighten it up, it's my main focus right now because I know I've got a good changeup and good fastball. I just need to get lefties out more because that's what a left-handed pitcher should do.\"
\r\n
\r\nHorsman notes that choosing between the slider and the curveball is common for some pitchers at this level.
\r\n
\r\n\"In Egan's case, I just think his slider plays better,\" he said. \"His curveball is a little rolly and he's already shown flashes of having a pretty decent slider and one that could be effective with a little more development even at the major league level. So, instead of trying to throw both, which is difficult to do, we're trying to keep it to just the one and that's going to be the slider primarily.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe overall mindset the coaches are instilling in Smith is to work down in the zone with all of his pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"Our primary focus right now is to work his fastball and all of his pitches down in the zone,\" Horsman said. \"We're also working on the development of his slider, which I think is going to be very important in his development and how far he goes in the system.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's one thing to throw a lot of pitches, but we're looking at quality. Right now, his changeup is an average big league changeup. I think for him to succeed at the higher levels it's going to be more about his slider than it is about his curveball.\"
\r\n
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