Tigers Scouting Report #37: Chad Smith

To be a bullpen prospect, you usually need to have two pitches that are, or at least project to be, above average. While Chad Smith hasn't blown many away with a single devastating pitch, he meets the qualifications, and because of it, places himself among the top 50 prospects.

Chad Smith

Vitals

Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 10/2/1989 (2014 Opening Day Age: 24)
Height/Weight: 6-3/215
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: 2011 Draft, 17th Round
Ranking History: #53 (2012), #40 (2013), #37 (2014)

Background: A late round pick in 2011, Smith signed in August despite being in the midst of recovery from Tommy John surgery. He debuted in 2012 and spent time at three levels, including a 4.38 ERA with Low-A West Michigan in 24.2 innings. A return to Low-A in 2013 saw dramatic improvement across the board for Smith.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Pitching
TEAMGGSSVIPHHRRERBBSOHBPERAWHIPW/L
West Michigan 432172.05831917227302.131.115-4


Scouting Report

Body: Strong; classic pitcher's build; broad shoulders; tapers to waist; strong lower half; strength training during rehab in 2011/2012 was very beneficial; very good body for power arm.

Delivery/Mechanics: Rebuilt mechanics to simple, consistent delivery; more consistent from stretch than in windup; arm slot dips to very low ¾ at times; height and arm length allows him to maintain angle; arm drags behind lower body at times; above-average arm speed but not spectacular; delivery lends to relief projection.

Fastball: Heavy FB; works 91-93; has touched 96 pre-surgery but has not found that velocity as a pro; FB has natural sink; sink plays up when down in the zone; can induce weak contact with movement; quality pitch that works in all parts of the zone; movement and velo combine to near plus level; could still see slight velo tick further removed from surgery. Grade – Present 5+/Future 6

Slider: Low- to mid-80s breaker; good rotation; more vertical movement than horizontal; not a bat misser but produces weak contact; sets up well after pitching off FB; solid-average second pitch. Grade – 5+/5+

Control/Command: Can throw strikes with FB; still lacks ability to move FB from corner to corner; movement allows for success in spite of lack of command; SL control is modest and showed progress throughout 2013; occasionally inconsistent arm slot impedes command progress; loses location with arm drag; lacks refined command profile; could still come along with strike throwing and become reliable with FB and SL in the zone.

Other: TJ surgery on resume; intelligent guy; displayed good work ethic in comeback from surgery; mixes FB and SL well; will pitch backwards at times; good athlete; can field his position; needs to improve pickoff.

Final Word

Summary: FB-SL reliever; will miss some bats; will rely more heavily on weak contact; nothing in profiles truly stands out; more solid than spectacular; has work ethic and intelligence for raw stuff to play to acceptable level; fits in low leverage relief role.

Risk: Moderate risk; TJ surgery in past; no track record outside of Low-A; modest ceiling.

Projection: Lack of knockout pitch and limited command projection limits overall profile; fits in middle relief with 7th inning ceiling if everything comes together; could reach Double-A in 2014 and could be up-and-down reliever by 2015.

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