Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Smyly was the Friday night starter for Arkansas in 2010, putting the finishing touches a fine collegiate career.
The Tigers picked Smyly with their second round pick last summer. He signed late in the year and will not make his professional debut until the 2011 season gets underway.
Smyly did participate in the Tigers Fall Instructional League in Lakeland, working numerous two to three inning stints, and impressing the Tigers brass.
Smyly is a pretty classic left-hander with a fringe-average to average fastball that routinely sits at 88-91. He has shown velocity up to 94 mph at times, but those instances are rare and it should not be expected going forward.
His best secondary offering is a mid- to upper-80s cutter that can get in on the fists of right-handed hitters and keep them off the plate. He commands both his fastball and cutter well. He is a good athlete that has the ability to repeat his delivery with ease, and he projects for plus big league command.
Smyly will also consistently mix in a curveball and change-up, though both lag behind the quality of his two primary offerings. His curveball shows good spin and solid depth, and could be an average pitch with improved consistency and command. He will need his curveball to develop to help him continue to be tough on more advanced left-handers.
Smyly works down the plane of the mound well and his pitches have good angle entering the strike zone. Most scouts would like to see him work down in the zone more regularly, where his fastball-cutter could induce weak contact and ground balls.
There isn't a lot of projection remaining for Smyly, but he could see a slight tick up in his fastball velocity as he gets into a professional routine. As he stands now, Smyly has number three ceiling and looks to be a good bet to be a 4th or 5th starter.
Did not appear in 2010.
Smyly has been healthy the last two years, but he does have a significant history of injury. He missed his freshman year at Arkansas after he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left elbow. The injury healed well and he has not had any recurring problems since that time.
The Tigers are expected to be somewhat aggressive with Smyly this season, possibly starting him off at High-A Lakeland. He has the polished arsenal and good approach to pitching to handle that level of competition.
Though he lacks the ceiling you might expect from a second round pick, he is a pretty safe bet to reach the big leagues and contribute to a roster. He has the potential to move quickly through the system and could be knocking on the big league door as soon as late next year, with a more likely call up coming in 2013.
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