Miami Marlins 2018 Season Review: The Return of Dr. K

DENVER, CO - JUNE 24: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a game at Coors Field on June 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 24: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a game at Coors Field on June 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 117 of 286. For the first 100, click here.

Caleb Anthony Smith is a 6’2″, 205 lb. left-handed throwing, righty batting starting pitcher from Huntsville, Texas. Born on July 28th, 1991, the fireballer was a 14th round choice of the New York Yankees in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of Sam Houston State.

In three seasons pitching for the Division I Bearkats, Smith started in 40 of his 52 appearances on the hill. In 248 1/3 innings, he posted a 3.29 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP, going 19-14 with 204 strikeouts. Follow Smith on Twitter @CalebASmith12.

More from Marlins News

The Yankees picked Smith with the 434th overall choice. Eight players chosen with that pick have gone on to the big leagues, most notably Freddie Patek (1965, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24.1 career WAR), Hubie Brooks (1974, Montreal Expos, 13.0 WAR), and Mike Pelfrey (2002, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 5.3 WAR).

After signing for a $100,000 bonus, Smith worked his way up through the New York Yankees system over the next five seasons, culminating with his major league debut on July 17th, 2017. Smith played nine games for the Yankees, including two starts. He was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. He also walked 10 and surrendered 16 runs on 21 hits for a jarring 1.661 WHIP. On November 20th of that year, the Yankees traded Smith and first baseman Garrett Cooper to the Miami Marlins for minor league pitcher Michael King.

Miami Marlins
DENVER, CO – JUNE 24: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a game at Coors Field on June 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Smith is mostly reliant on three pitches, the fastball (55.9%), a slider (26.2%), and a changeup (16.1%). Earlier in his career, it was remarked that his lack of command would result in a transition to the bullpen, but for the Miami Marlins, he has been pretty good as a starter, in an admittedly small sample size. Read Smith’s scouting report here at baseballamerica.com (subscription required).

Through the first half of the season, Smith didn’t miss a start for the Miami Marlins. Other than Jose Urena, he was the only sure bet until his season ended prematurely with a Grade 3 lat strain during his 16th start of the season on June 24th.

Miami Marlins
MIAMI, FL – JUNE 8: Caleb Smith #31 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park on June 8, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

Smith’s four-seamer averaged 92.7 MPH, and his changeup was 84.0 MPH. Opponents had a very difficult time hitting his slider, slashing just .136/.193/.205 when Smith chose to throw it. On April 22nd, in a 4-2 tough luck loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, Smith held the Crew to two hits and zero walks over six innings, striking out 10. He was even better in his next start, going seven two-hit innings and striking out nine batters in a 3-0 victory against the Colorado Avalanche.

Smith totaled five Quality Starts for the Miami Marlins through his 16 games. He totaled 88 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings, with a club-third 1.241 WHIP and a 4.19 ERA. His Marlins-third 3.96 FIP indicates that he suffered from slightly below average fielding, and pitched a little better than his base statistics would indicate.

Despite missing over half of the season, Smith finished third on the Marlins with five victories, and fifth with his 16 starts and 77 1/3 innings pitched. Smith also ranked third with 7.3 H/9 and his 10.2 K/9, minimum 50 IP.

Smith was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Halloween, and should be a lock for the rotation, probably somewhere between number two and number three. If he can finish a full healthy season for the Miami Marlins, he could be a 200 strikeout type of pitcher. Provided he and Trevor Richards remain healthy, they should compete for the Marlins lead in the category.

Next. Vincenzo Aiello's Season Review. dark

Thanks for reading. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep up with the Miami Marlins.

facebooktwitterreddit