2006 Pitcher of the Year

Keith Glab has named his Pitcher of the Year for each of the Diamondback affiliates. Now, he scours the entire farm system to find the one pitcher who made the biggest impact this season. The winner doesn't have the biggest name or the flashiest stuff, but in 2006, he was the man.

Greg Smith

The organization chose Micah Owings as its 2006 Pitcher of the Year.  That's a tough choice to argue with.  I watched Owings play at Tulane, dominating as both a pitcher and as a hitter just as he had done at Georgia Tech before that.  After being drafted in the third round last year, Owings came with high expectations and has not disappointed.

Greg Smith, however, was drafted in the 6th round of that same draft (ironically, out of the Tulane rival LSU).  He had only been a starter for one collegiate season, and relied on finesse and location more than he did on overpowering stuff.  No one expected Greg Smith to dominate immediately upon reaching pro ball.

Yet dominate he has.  We've discussed at length how Smith was unhittable in Lancaster, winning nine straight starts for the JetHawks with a microscopic ERA in a great hitter's ballpark.  But let's now look at him more holistically.

Smith made a total of 24 starts on the season.  21 of those were quality starts.  That means that even when Smith didn't have his best stuff or his best command, he still had enough guile to give his team an excellent chance of winning almost 90% of the time.

In clutch situations, when he really needed to make a great pitch, Smith came through.  With runners on and two men out, Smith held batters to eight hits in 63 at bats on the year (.127 BA).  When there were two outs and runners in scoring position, opponents went 9-for-64 (.141) against Smith.  Not only is it difficult to hit Smith in general, but even when you play small ball and advance runners into scoring position, you're not likely to drive them home against this southpaw.

For the season, Smith went 14-4 with a 2.55 ERA and .231 BAA.  In his professional career, Smith has struck out nearly three times as many batters as he has walked.  He may not have the best stuff in the organization, but you wouldn't know it from his numbers.      

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