Mandatory Credit: thebaseballhaven.mlblogs.com
#20. Burch Smith
As they say third time is a charm. After being drafted two times previous by the Indians in 2009 and 2012, Smith finally decided to become a professional after being drafted by the Padres in the 14th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. After not being highly scouted out of high school Smith played his first two years of colligate baseball at Howard College before playing his junior season at the University of Oklahoma.
In his first full professional season, Smith posted a 3.85 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 137 strikeouts in 128.2 innings pitched causing him to be ranked the Padres #22 top prospect. After starting the 2012 season at Double-A San Antonio, Smith was named pitcher of the month for April and by May, 11th he was making his Major League debut. Whether it was the jitters or needing more time in the minors, Smith didn’t make it out of the inning outing unscathed, giving up 6 earned run on 5 hits and 2 walks in 1+ innings.
Smith sports a powerful fastball averaging between 92-96 mph. However, Smith lacks any plus secondary pitches. This lack of secondary pitches does project well for him to be a successful starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. While having a 96 mph fastball is great, having no alternative pitches makes it easy for opposing batters to just sit on the fastball.
If he doesn’t develop stronger secondary pitches, Smith could capitalize on his velocity by converting to the bullpen. Smith could be a great late inning bullpen arm providing great value for the Padres in the future.