Kevin Smith Trusts His Stuff

Lefthander Kevin Smith’s “wow” appeal is low, but the 22-year-old’s ability to command his stuff has translated into early professional success.

Named as the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year for 2019, Smith can be considered an inspiration for seventh-round draft picks. That was his selection round from Georgia in 2018.

“It says a lot about the individual that he comes into the organization and not a first-round pick, or something like that, and he puts himself on the map,” assistant general manager Allard Baird said. “That is a credit to him and the people who have worked with him. It always starts with the player more than anything else.”

Smith last season went 8-7, 3.15 in 23 starts for high Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. At the latter stop he recorded a 3.45 ERA in six starts.

Smith, who stands at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, throws his fastball in the 88-92 mph range. His breaking ball and changeup both usually register in the low 80s.

“I think he is one of those guys, he is not going to wow you,” Baird said. “He is not going to be an upper-90s guy—he’s got to pitch. He’s got composure and he trusts his stuff. As long as he continues that growth, he is going to end up pitching in the big leagues.”

Whether Smith begins the season with a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse could hinge upon how much free agent rotation depth the Mets retain. Smith could eventually project as a reliever, but the organization wants him to continue progressing as a starter.

“For me, I just think it’s composure, his ability to repeat his delivery and trust his stuff,” Baird said. “That was the big thing that stood out to me. I think the focus on that type of guy is to try to make him a starter and that would be the focus right now versus any thought about putting him in the bullpen.”


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