This past winter, the Tampa Bay Rays traded Mikie Mahtook to the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named later. Yesterday, that player was sent over to the Rays.
Back on January 18, the Tampa Bay Rays traded outfielder Mikie Mahtook to the Detroit Tigers. As the Rays had a logjam in the outfield, and the Tigers were desperately needing depth, such a move made sense. The only question involved what the Rays would receive in return, as Mahtook was traded for a player to be named later.
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Yesterday, that player was finally announced. In exchange for Mahtook, the Rays have received former 2015 third round draft pick Drew Smith. Smith, a right handed pitcher, will begin his time in the Rays system with the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
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He certainly represents an intriguing prospect. Rated as the Tigers 17th best prospect by MLB.com, Smith has performed quite well in Detroit’s system. Used strictly as a reliever in the minors, Smith has posted a 1.77 ERA and a 0.953 WHiP, striking out 112 batters against 32 walks in 91.1 innings.
Smith continued that impressive work thus far in the 2017 campaign. In his 11.2 innings with the Lakeland Flying Tigers, he has allowed one earned run on four hits and four walks, striking out 12 batters. Although he only has six career minor league saves, Smith has the look of a pitcher who could develop into a solid piece for the seventh or eighth inning.
The key to his success has been his solid fastball/curve combination. Both pitches are considered above average, and given his ability to generate swings and misses with his arsenal, Smith could continue to climb quickly through the minors. If he can harness his command further, decreasing his career 3.1 BB/9 rate, that ascension could come even faster.
Considering Mikie Mahtook may not be much more than a fourth outfielder, the Tampa Bay Rays have acquired quite the interesting piece in Drew Smith. Given his success in the minors, Smith could be making his Rays debut sometime next season.