Since his hiring in 2018, Mike Elias has constantly loaded the Orioles farm system, mostly as returns from trades he has pulled off. Our No. 18 overall prospect is another one of those reruns; left-handed pitcher Kevin Smith.
Kevin Smith made his way to the Orioles organization in 2020 via the Miguel Castro trade with the New York Mets. Immediately a good looking trade, the Orioles were able to land the Mets’ Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2019 in exchange for a sometimes uncontrollable Miguel Castro.
Scouting Grades/Report (20-80 grading scale)
- FASTBALL 50
- SLIDER 55
- CHANGEUP 50
- CONTROL 55
- OVERALL 45
After being a seventh round pick in 2018 by the Mets, Smith has fared well and has shown a lot of promise. Standing at 6 foot 5 inches tall, Smith does well with deceiving hitters with his size.
In his first season in the minors in 2019, Smith was one of the better pitchers in the Mets organization. He finished that season with 130 strikeouts, a 27.2 strikeout rate, and the second best ERA of all Mets pitchers who threw at least 100 innings. One main downfall for Smith at this point is his control, which is proven in his 15 walks in six games at the Double-A level in 2019.
With three solid pitches, our No. 18 overall prospect has a lot to work with. His fastball tops off around the low 90s but is above average in spin rate, something the pitchers in MLB are now much invested in. Also, he has a strong sweeping slider that elicits a lot of swings and misses, something necessary to succeed in Camden Yards.
At 23 years old, time isn’t an issue for Smith. However, it will be interesting to see how he fares starting out in Double-A Bowie after not pitching due to the minor leagues being shut down last season.
In order to come out as a top tier starting rotation prospect, he must improve on his fastball and changeup combination a little more. Meanwhile, his slider could prove to be a killer pitch coming out of the bullpen, especially when you look at his dominance against left-handed hitters as opposed to right-handed hitters.
What are your thoughts on Kevin Smith? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow the rest of the Prospect Profiles series here on The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Twitter and Facebook!