Down on the Farm: A Healthy Drew Smyly Continues to Dominate


Lost in the 2010 draft was a pitcher that hasn’t gotten much love in my opinion. With the excitement of the Tigers drafting household names like  Nick Castellanos and Chance Ruffin stealing the show, crafty left-handed starter Drew Smyly has quietly emerged as a top prospect this season.

After posting mediocre results his first few starts, Smyly was shut down. Prior to the injury, in 17 2/3 innings with the Flying Tigers Smyly posted a 4.08 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. In the starts that I observed this season Smyly cruised through the first few innings. However, as he approached the middle innings he began to labor a bit and struggled with command and control. The results didn’t yield walks (just 3 at that point) but Smyly had a tendency to hang breaking balls and struggle locating his pitches. This seemed odd to me because Smyly had been described as nothing but consistent by scouts. Something was clearly wrong with Drew Smyly.

Fast forwarding to late May when he returned from the disabled list, a healthy Drew Smyly began to show his true colors.

Smyly earned a promotion to AA-Erie after posting a 7-3 record with a 2.58 ERA over 14 starts with Advanced-A Lakeland.  In 80 1/3 innings, Smyly racked up 77 strikeouts, walked 21 and surrendered just 1 home run. Smyly also held opposing batters to a respectable .241 average. More importantly, beyond the numbers I was witnessing more quality strikes resulting from much improved command and control. I became more impressed as the innings began to add up and the quality starts continued to pile up. Still, on the national and local spotlight, not much love for Drew Smyly.

Since his promotion to AA-Erie, Smyly has done nothing but dominate. While I am limited to reading boxscores since the promotion, the results have shown that Smyly continues to miss bats, keep the ball in the yard and give his team a chance to win. In those three starts he has posted a 2-1 record with a 0.53 ERA. Over 17 innings with the SeaWolves, Smyly has racked up 21 strikeouts while holding opposing batters to a .207 batting average.

If you haven’t already jumped on the Drew Smyly bandwagon than I suggest you do so now. The 22-year-old southpaw has a very bright future ahead of him with the Detroit Tigers. (sigh) If of course he’s not traded on August 20th when the six player trade with the Seattle Mariners is completed.