Marlins Bullpen Possibilities: Depth Reliever Josh A. Smith

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 03: Josh Smith #67 of the Boston Red Soxpitches the 9th inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 03, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 03: Josh Smith #67 of the Boston Red Soxpitches the 9th inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 03, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Josh A. Smith is one of several recent Marlins acquisitions.

Late of the Boston Red Sox, Josh Smith joined the Marlins through free agency on December 18th to a minor league deal, and was issued an invitation to spring training. A Margate, FL native, the 32-year-old right-hander was initially a 21st round choice of the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft out of Lipscomb.

In three seasons with the Bisons, Smith was 18-11 with a 4.48 ERA in 44 Division I appearances. After joining the Reds system, Smith gradually worked his way up to make his major-league debut for them in 2015. In nine appearances, including seven starts, he was 0-4 with a 6.89 ERA and a 1.929 WHIP over 32 2/3 innings.

Reliant on a five-pitch mix, including a slider, a sinker, a curveball, a changeup, and a four-seam fastball, Smith averages 91.6 MPH with the offering, topping out on the gun at 95. He played his way back onto the Reds in 2016, to improved results. Thirty-two appearances, with 30 of them in relief, Smith went 3-3 with a 4.68 ERA, 48 K’s in 59 2/3 innings, and a 1.391 WHIP to his credit. After the season, the Reds placed Smith on waivers, where he was claimed by the Oakland Athletics.

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BALTIMORE, MD – MAY 06: Josh Smith #67 of the Boston Red Sox. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Smith split the 2017 season pretty evenly between the A’s and their triple-A affiliate, getting into 26 contest with the parent club. He was 2-1 with a 4.89 ERA, 25 whiffs over 35 frames, and a 1.429 WHIP. Granted free agency after the season, Smith found a home in the Seattle Mariners system.

2018 would not see Smith graduate above the Mariners Triple-A club, the Tacoma Rainiers. After just four games for the PCL affiliate in April, he was released from his contract, and didn’t appear anywhere for the rest of the season.

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On January 3rd earlier this season, Smith gained a Spring Training invitation from the Red Sox. Although he made 12 rotational starts for the Sox’ Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, he also made 18 appearances for Boston, including a pair of starts.

Smith was 0-3 with a 5.81 ERA and 29 K’s in 31 innings for Boston, with a 1.419 WHIP.

Through Smith’s now-four-season major league career, he hasn’t been close to a whiff of even as much as an “average” campaign, going by the ERA+ statistic. As “average” is defined as a performance with a grade of 100, Smith set a career-high in 2016 with a mark of 92.

Smith is not guaranteed a spot on the major league roster, but he has an even chance to catch on with a strong Spring Training. Failing that, he’s likely to get called up as injuries take their inevitable toll on the Marlins bullpen. Look for Smith to start his campaign with the Wichita Wind Surge, in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.

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