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Nate Smith keeps doing it...


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He's been working with Mike Hampton on getting the most out of his body, refining some things to add velocity.  when he arrived in AA, he was throwing 87-89, last night he was working 92-93, typically he's working 89-91.  I'm beginning to believe Nate Smith has a future in the Angels rotation. 

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  • 2 months later...

Nate Smith keeps doing Nate Smith things...   He's now giving up 1 or less runs in 8 of his 15 starts and has put up an ERA of 0.85 in his 5 June starts....

 

On the season ..  88.2 IP, 73 H, 25 BB, 71 K.  1.11 WHIP and a 2.74 ERA.

 

He's been a bit lucky, but I'd imagine the traditional stats are such that he is increasing his trade value.

 

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I'm just not sure he has the upside to hold much trade value. Teams chase upside. Smith, he's actually really good, despite not having the upside.

 

Yeah, he's not 6'5 and 225, so he's not going to add much to what he's doing but IMO doing enough.  He's left handed, he's already working at 91-93 (which is better than average for a lefty), he can touch 94 pretty consistently and while he doesn't have a lot of cut or run on his FB, his change is so good that the FB remains a weapon.  He has two curves (speed wise), that he seems capable of throwing anywhere in the count but it's his change that really sets everything up, it seems to drop like a rock and even when they do hit it.... they aren't doing much with it.  He may have the best base mechanics in the Angels system among SPs -- pitch after pitch his legs are always behind him, his landing point is amazingly steady.  He won't ever project as a 1 or a 2, but he stands a really good chance at being a 200 innings number three, much more so now that his velocity has inched up and settled where it has.  I know the game has fluctuated towards pitching, so there may be less value in that than there used to be but  I guess I'm one of those you can't ever have too much pitching types.

 

 

I've always liked him.  I think he may find himself susceptible to the HR when he leaves a CB up, but I really like how his skill set could play out in Anaheim.  As far as trade value goes, saber inclined teams might be more willing to bite at what he is already than wait on someone else's potential upside.  So, while I don't have any idea what his value might be, I do believe he's a guy that could be packaged for someone.  Truth is, I wouldn't mind if he sticks around.

Edited by Inside Pitch
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91-93 is almost elite fastball for a leftie (Kershaw is between 91-95). Does Smith *really* work between 91-93, or is that number a tad high? And if he does work at that range, how is he not a bona fide prospect?

 

That's where he's been for the entire season since his second start..  He used to sit 89-91, he's upped that to 91-93.  Dude touches 94 once every 2 or 3 innings.  Now either the gun is off or he's really working at that velocity.  And if the gun is off then guys like Gott aren't throwing 97-98..  because guns tend to be off for everyone.

 

Smith caught my eye very early on because of how well he sets his legs, while I wasn't expecting any real increase in velocity I figured he would be a guy that would retain his velocity really well...  But the way he drives through his legs has bumped him up a little.  Credit to the Angels for really getting the most out of a guy with really sound bottom half mechanics.

Edited by Inside Pitch
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91-93 is almost elite fastball for a leftie (Kershaw is between 91-95). Does Smith *really* work between 91-93, or is that number a tad high? And if he does work at that range, how is he not a bona fide prospect?

 

He threw mostly 89/90 last season.  He's throwing mostly 91/92 this season, but doing so comfortably.  But he won't dial it up any higher than that because it's that element of comfort which allows him to succeed in changing speeds, spotting his pitches etc. As far as his fastball goes, it's slightly above average.  Nothing remarkably special.  

 

But as IP pointed out, Smith's fastball isn't what makes him a special sort of pitcher.  That comes in his ability to pound the zone with three pitches, all of which are at least average in quality. 

 

I'd prefer the Angels hold onto Smith because other teams won't value him enough to make it worth the Angels time, and he's going to be needed for depth if they end up trading away Wilson, Santiago and Tropeano before next season, which is being frequently discussed.  The way I see it, Richards, Newcomb, Heaney, Skaggs and Ellis are our future five, and that's one dynamic group of starters.  But beyond them, if we make some trades, we'll need guys like Nate Smith and Greyson Long to provide depth. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So do we officially have 4 untouchable pitching prospects?

 

I don't know that he should be untouchable, but he's good enough that we shouldn't have to throw in a lot of filler to get something for him.     He's been underrated by people due to old school biases -- he wasn't especially big, he pitched at Furman University...  but all he's done is succeed and up his game.

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I've actually liked Smith for a while now. Reminds me of Joe Saunders only better.

 

Seems like he could easily be a center piece in a trade for a bat. Or, they could keep him and let him grow into a back end of the rotation role. Either way is a win.

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I talked to Ben Badler, said he was experiencing success but also noted Smith's stuff was very non-desript. There just isn't anything that jumps out at you. Average fastball with an average curve and average change.

Potential trade partners generally chase one thing, upside. Smith doesn't have it and thus likely doesn't hold the trade value he should. I think he'll be a Saunders type.

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He has a fairly good walk rate and has improved his groundball rate this year. It doesn't hurt to have Stamets and Johnson playing SS and 2B behind you either, especially when you're generating more grounders.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think Smith more resembles Joe Saunders than he does C.J. Wilson.  But let's not forget, Saunders was a solid #4/5 starter for us, made the all-star team and even went on to post decent numbers after he was traded.

I don't really see him comparing to either of them.  

 

I give Saunders a lot of credit for having had as good a MLB career as he did, he was nothing remotely close the the pitcher he had been in college, there was an almost instant drop in velocity after he was drafted and the change from NCAA to MiLB balls really hurt his breaking pitches.

 

Awful curveball. 

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