'07 Draft Q&A: Josh Smoker

In our preliminary look at the 2007 draft class, Josh Smoker ranks among the top lefty pitchers in the nation. We recently sat down with Josh to discuss his strengths and weaknesses, his goals, what improvements he'd like to make, and much more.

Scout.com: First of all, how would you describe your style of pitching? What is your approach and is there a MLB pitcher that you like to compare yourself to or model yourself after in terms if style?

Josh Smoker: I just like to go after hitters and challenge them. If they get a hit, congratulations to them. If not, better luck next time. I don't really model myself after a pitcher, but I have always been a fan of John Smoltz.

Scout.com: Please describe your repertoire.

Josh Smoker: I throw a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball, a changeup, a curveball, and a split-finger. My four-seam fastball is my hardest pitch, being clocked at 93 MPH in high school. I get ahead with my fastball, and try to get hitters out with my split-finger. I set pitches up with my changeup, and use my curveball when I am behind in the count with a batter.

Scout.com: Obviously, the next year will be very significant for you. What are some improvements that you would really like to make in that time?

Josh Smoker: I would really like to get bigger and stronger. Maybe put on about 10-20 more pounds. I'd also like to get my legs in a little bit better shape. No matter how good you are, there is always going to be somebody out there that is just that much better than you so you can never take a day off.

Scout.com: What do you feel is your strongest attribute as a pitcher? In other words, what sets you apart?

Josh Smoker: I think that the thing that sets me apart of everybody else is my will to compete. Anybody can do good when everything is going their way, but you find out very quickly who the legit players are over the good players when you hit that little wall every once in a while. It's how you handle everything that really shows what kind of a person you are.

Scout.com: You have impressed scouts quite a bit with you outstanding command at such a young age. What do you attribute your ability to control all your pitches to?

Josh Smoker: The only thing I can think to tell you here is that I don't think. It's when a pitcher starts thinking that he begins to lose focus. I love the quote from Billy Chapel in "For Love of the Game", "Don't think, just throw."

Scout.com: What do you feel is the most important thing you've ever learned about pitching?

Josh Smoker: No matter how good or bad your last outing was that day, there will always be tomorrow.

Scout.com: When facing a tougher hitter in a lineup, describe your usual plan of attack. How do you go about getting that hitter out?

Josh Smoker: Obviously, the most important thing is to hit your spots. Good hitters hit bad pitches. That's why you can't have any bad pitches against good hitters. I really work on getting ahead of batters.

Scout.com: What do you feel is the most improvement you've ever made on the mound?

Josh Smoker: I've improved my mechanics.

Scout.com: Southpaws with great stuff are a rare commodity. How much of an advantage do you feel that is for you as you move forward in your career?

Josh Smoker: I feel that I have the same chances as everybody else. Anything could happen. Sure, being left-handed helps out a little bit, but once again, anything can happen. I just have to keep working at it and keep it fun.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nScout.com: First of all, how would you describe your style of pitching? What is your approach and is there a MLB pitcher that you like to compare yourself to or model yourself after in terms if style? \r\n

\r\nJosh Smoker: I just like to go after hitters and challenge them. If they get a hit, congratulations to them. If not, better luck next time. I don't really model myself after a pitcher, but I have always been a fan of John Smoltz. \r\n

\r\nScout.com: Please describe your repertoire.\r\n

\r\nJosh Smoker: I throw a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball, a changeup, a curveball, and a split-finger. My four-seam fastball is my hardest pitch, being clocked at 93 MPH in high school. I get ahead with my fastball, and try to get hitters out with my split-finger. I set pitches up with my changeup, and use my curveball when I am behind in the count with a batter. \r\n

\r\nScout.com: Obviously, the next year will be very significant for you. What are some improvements that you would really like to make in that time? \r\n

\r\nJosh Smoker: I would really like to get bigger and stronger. Maybe put on about 10-20 more pounds. I'd also like to get my legs in a little bit better shape. No matter how good you are, there is always going to be somebody out there that is just that much better than you so you can never take a day off. \r\n

\r\nScout.com: What do you feel is your strongest attribute as a pitcher? In other words, what sets you apart? \r\n

\r\nJosh Smoker: I think that the thing that sets me apart of everybody else is my will to compete. Anybody can do good when everything is going their way, but you find out very quickly who the legit players are over the good players when you hit that little wall every once in a while. It's how you handle everything that really shows what kind of a person you are. \r\n

\r\nScout.com: You have impressed scouts quite a bit with you outstanding command at such a young age. What do you attribute your ability to control all your pitches to? \r\n

\r\nJosh Smoker: The only thing I can think to tell you here is that I don't think. It's when a pitcher starts thinking that he begins to lose focus. I love the quote from Billy Chapel in \"For Love of the Game\", \"Don't think, just throw.\"\r\n

\r\nScout.com: What do you feel is the most important thing you've ever learned about pitching? \r\n

\r\nJosh Smoker: No matter how good or bad your last outing was that day, there will always be tomorrow. \r\n

\r\nScout.com: When facing a tougher hitter in a lineup, describe your usual plan of attack. How do you go about getting that hitter out? \r\n

\r\nJosh Smoker: Obviously, the most important thing is to hit your spots. Good hitters hit bad pitches. That's why you can't have any bad pitches against good hitters. I really work on getting ahead of batters. \r\n

\r\nScout.com: What do you feel is the most improvement you've ever made on the mound? \r\n

\r\nJosh Smoker: I've improved my mechanics. \r\n

\r\nScout.com: Southpaws with great stuff are a rare commodity. How much of an advantage do you feel that is for you as you move forward in your career? \r\n

\r\nJosh Smoker: I feel that I have the same chances as everybody else. Anything could happen. Sure, being left-handed helps out a little bit, but once again, anything can happen. 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