Smyly Building Resume Overseas For Tigers
DETROIT—As the Tigers begin planning for the 2012 season, one of the questions they must answer is who will pitch at the back of the rotation.
The team may sign a veteran innings-eater—such as Brad Penny, who made 31 starts and covered 182 innings while winning 11 games this season. Or the Tigers may hold auditions in spring training to give one of their young starters a chance to win the job, with prospects such as Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver and Duane Below among the top choices.
If Detroit decides on Plan B, don't leave 22-year-old lefthander Drew Smyly out of the mix.
Smyly, a second-round pick out of Arkansas in 2010, pitched well for Team USA this fall in two international tournaments. In three starts (two in the World Cup, one in the Pan American Games), he went 2-0, 0.00 with 17 strikeouts and one walk in 17 innings.
In his World Cup debut against Greece on Oct. 6, Smyly allowed just two hits and no walks while fanning seven in six shutout innings. On Oct. 13 against Australia, he gave up just four hits and collected six whiffs with no walks in five scoreless innings in a game the U.S. won late.
Smyly kept on rolling in the Pan Am Games, shutting out Panama over six innings while yielding just four hits and one walk while striking out four. He allowed just 10 hits and one extra-base hit, a double, for Team USA.
It was a continuation of Smyly's impressive professional debut. He signed for $1.1 million at the deadline in 2010 and did not get on the field. He opened his career in 2011 at high Class A Lakeland, going 7-3, 2.58 in 14 starts with 77 strikeouts and 21 walks in 80 innings. That performance earned him a promotion in late July to Double-A Erie, where he made eight starts and went 4-3, 1.18 with 53 strikeouts and 15 walks in 46 innings.
On the season, Smyly had a 2.07 ERA and 130 strikeouts against 36 walks in 126 innings.
• Catcher James McCann, the Tigers' top pick (second round) in this year's draft, was added to Team USA for the Pan Am Games and had a double in his only at-bat in a 20-2 win over the Dominican Republic.
• Lefthander Matt Hoffman was taken off the Salt River roster in the Arizona Fall League and replaced by righthander Rob Waite, who went 4-4, 4.56 with seven saves in 40 appearances at Erie.