Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is part 12….of 286. Stay tuned.
Rodney Chad Smith, who goes by Chad, is a 6’4″, 200 lb. right-handed pitcher from McCalla, AL. Born on June 8th, 1995, He was 5-5 with a 3.64 ERA with Wallace State Community College in 2014 and 2015. After getting selected in the 23rd round of the 2015 draft by the Cleveland Indians, he played a season of Division I ball with the University of Mississippi. He struck out 62 in 59 2/3 innings for the Rebels, going 4-4 with a 4.22 ERA in 15 appearances. You can follow Smith on Twitter @crodwallace3.
In the 2016 draft, the Miami Marlins used their 11th round pick to select Smith, 323rd overall. Other members of the “323 club” include Mike Oquist (1989, Baltimore Orioles, 3.0 career WAR), Dwayne Hosey (1987, Chicago White Sox, 1.3 WAR), and former Marlin Greg Dobbs (1999, Houston Astros, -3.7 WAR).
Smith employs a plus-fastball, which clocks in at up-to 95 MPH. He also has a slider and a changeup, which weren’t great pitches when he was first drafted but have since gotten better.
Smith signed with the Marlins for a $100,000 bonus, then was assigned to the GCL Marlins on June 24, 2016. He appeared three times and struck out three in two innings. 10 days after joining GCL, Smith was promoted to the Batavia Muckdogs in the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs. He pitched in 15 games and went 1-2 with an 8.25 ERA.
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In 2017, Smith started the season and spent the entire year with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, in the middle-A South Atlantic League. Smith pitched in 34 games for the Hoppers, and posted a 3-2 record with seven saves and a 2.93 ERA. He struck out 52 in 47 innings, with a 1.22 WHIP. On August 24th, Smith struck out four in 2 1/3 scoreless innings in a 6-5, 11-inning loss to the Kannapolis Intimidators.
This season, Smith was promoted to the high-A Florida State League Jupiter Hammerheads. He went 5-3 with 12 saves, a 3.57 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. Walks were a problem, with 22 issued. His .200 oppBA was set off negatively by his .333 oppOBP, but his oppOPS was still a solid .597. On June 3rd, He struck out four in two mostly perfect innings as the Hammerheads lost to the Palm Beach Cardinals by an 11-6 final score.
Smith’s future path is looking pretty bright, and he’ll join other prospects in the Arizona Fall League kicking off in mid-October. With a decent showing, a Spring Training invitation is likely. He should start next season with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, with an outside shot at getting called up to the Miami Marlins sometime during the season.
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