Monday, February 14, 2011

Prospect Profile: Drew Smyly

Drew Smyly

Profile: OF - 6'3" - 190lbs - BT:L - TH:L - 2011 Age: 22


• FB2 89-91: Good arm side run with sink. Well commanded. (55-60)
• CT 87-88: Good bite, well commanded (55-60)
• CV 77-78: Can break off a strong offering now and then. (45-50)
• CH 84-86: Needs to improve velocity differential. (35-40)


Smyly doesn't exactly fit the mold of the Tigers typical draft target with pitchers. The team has a tendency to prefer high risk, high upside arms and they've done well with those recently, drafting pitchers like Jacob Turner, Casey Crosby, Andrew Oliver, and Rick Porcello. In Smyly however, the Tigers have indentified and signed a refined strike thrower without the same upside, but who seems highly projectable.

There's more than one way skin the proverbial cat, and the Tigers have wisely latched onto other avenues.

Smyly has a polished delivery with a high 3/4 slot that allows him to get good downward plane of his pitches. He does a good job driving his glove-side elbow through and pulling his shoulder through generating good rotational torque. I have seen him have a tendency to open up a bit early and as a result, he'll hang some breaking balls or see his fastball flatten out and stay up, but with work he should be able to develop slightly better consistency.

Smyly's throws two fastaballs, a two-seam runner and a cutter and I think both should be above average offerings. He can locate each pitch well and mixes them up effectively, working both sides of the plate with pitches that will alternatively run in on a batters hands or away from their swing. His arm angle should also make him effective at keeping the ball on the ground and in the ballpark.

His off speed offerings both need some work to be league average offerings, but they have their potential. He'll occasionally show off a curveball that can get good late break with 11/5 movement and should be effective against lefties, but he'll need to be more consistent and be sure to work out front otherwise he has a tendency to hang the pitch. His changeup is his weakest offering, bu with work could be useful against righties.


Smyly is a pretty polished product who could feature three league average or better pitches and the Tigers will likely open him at High A Lakeland. I expect him to be a fast riser in the system and could see action as soon a 2012. He's probably not a realistic candidate as a #1 or #2, but he has the look of an innings eating #3 or #4. A really good find in the 4th round 2nd round.

Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both,, and He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates and random thoughts.

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