The Dodgers drafted the lanky southpaw in the 15th round of the 2018 draft, signing Smith for an above-slot $152K bonus. He missed both 2016 and 2017 with Tommy John surgery and didn’t pitch in an official game after signing. My Instructional League look at Smith this fall was his first live game action as a pro.
Smith stands tall on the mound, his high three-quarters slot generating excellent plane on a 92-to-95 mph fastball. The pitch has life out of the hand, flashing effective run when he targets armside. There’s slight cut when he drops under the pitch, though it might not be intentional. He hits spots to his armside, as heavy tilt to clear his arm prevents the extension required to command across the plate. Both secondary pitches are inconsistent but flash upside: his 76-to-80 mph curveball is the better of the two, showing hammer action and 12-to-6 shape at best. A low-80s changeup gets quality separation and shows movement. His feel for the changeup is still raw–occasionally slowing his arm to guide the pitch–but there’s a chance it gets to average if he can sell it with more regularity.
With fringy command and plenty of work to do on his secondaries, Smith’s likely future role is in the pen where his big fastball will play to above-average given the command inconsistency. In that scenario, he likely drops the CH to focus on honing the CB into a second weapon, likely landing him a second 55-grade pitch. I see his ceiling being that of a 7th inning arm.