Left-hander Will Smith came in at number 22 when Baseball America ranked their Kansas City Royals top 31 prospects heading into the 2012 season. Due to his big league time this season, Smith no longer has prospect status.
Smith was back-and-forth between Triple-A Omaha and the big leagues in May and June, but stuck in the Majors in about mid-July. He was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week after the first week of July. His final four starts for Omaha were dominant: a total of 27.2 innings, five runs allowed (four earned), five walks, and 29 strikeouts. He did not allow a homerun over those four starts.
Smith had his ups-and-downs in the Majors, but had four starts of seven innings where he allowed two runs or less (three against playoff contenders).
Smith has a two-seam fastball that he throws from 88-90 mph and a four-seam fastball that can hit 94 mph. He also has a big breaking ball and a changeup. He added a slider midway through the 2011 season to use against right-handed hitters. BA projects him to be a back-of-the-rotation starter (or at least a big league long reliever).
Meanwhile in a recent Bob Dutton article for the Kansas City Star, one top official said:
“Hopefully, Odorizzi and (Will) Smith and (Nate) Adcock are all pitching at Omaha when the season starts.”
That means the Royals are hoping to spend money on the free agent market or make a big offseason trade for a front-line starter. Haven’t fans heard that before?
However, as Dutton pointed out in his article:
Perhaps Smith and Adcock are in the mix at that point , too, but the Royals hope to have several other options.
So really, Smith doesn’t seem to be in the Royals plans for the near future. Will they include him in one of those potential trades? At this point, Smith will head into the 2013 season with a chance to make the Royals change their minds about him. He needs to become more consistent from start-to-start.
Check out this video from MLB.com of Smith’s scoreless start on September 11th in Minnesota. He struck out a career-high seven in seven innings of work: