As part of our Trademas in July series, we’ll take a look at potential trade targets for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Today we look at Tampa Bay staring pitcher

The Pittsburgh Pirates traded away Mark Melancon today, but they may not be done just yet, as Stephen Nesbitt notes.

If it seems like the Tampa Bay Rays have been the talk of the town since this year’s trade market spun up, well, that’s because they have been. At differing times, Chris Archer, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi have been at the center of many staring pitching trade rumors. We have previously profiled Archer, Moore and Odorizzi. Now we turn our attention to LHP Drew Smyly.

Profile and Performance

Smyly primarily hurls three pitches – a four-seamer, cut fastball and curve. He will mix in a changeup (used less than 10 percent of the time), and has a seldom-used sinker.

Though he throws the four-seam nearly 54 percent of the time on two-strike counts, the curveball is his most effective strikeout pitch, with a 17.4 percent whiff rate. The cutter and change are both above 12.5 percent as well. His fastball clocks a 10.37 percent whiff rate. Overall, Smyly has a 10.8 percent swinging strike rate, a touch above the accepted average of 9.5.

Smyly carries a below average ground ball rate of just 32.4 percent – a sizable drop from his career rate of 37.2, which is below the average of 44 percent. Smyly’s game is not built around velocity, as his four-seamer averages just under 91 mph.

The picture that Smyly has painted for himself is that of a decidedly average pitcher.

Career-to-Date

 

Year Age W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO BF WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2012 23 4 3 3.99 23 18 99.1 93 49 44 12 33 94 416 1.268 8.4 1.1 3.0 8.5 2.85
2013 24 6 0 2.37 63 0 76.0 62 20 20 4 17 81 303 1.039 7.3 0.5 2.0 9.6 4.76
2014 25 9 10 3.24 28 25 153.0 136 57 55 18 42 133 618 1.163 8.0 1.1 2.5 7.8 3.17
2014 25 6 9 3.93 21 18 105.1 111 48 46 14 31 89 445 1.348 9.5 1.2 2.6 7.6 2.87
2014 25 3 1 1.70 7 7 47.2 25 9 9 4 11 44 173 0.755 4.7 0.8 2.1 8.3 4.00
2015 26 5 2 3.11 12 12 66.2 58 24 23 11 20 77 275 1.170 7.8 1.5 2.7 10.4 3.85
2016 27 2 11 5.42 19 19 111.1 120 73 67 21 30 112 477 1.347 9.7 1.7 2.4 9.1 3.73
5 Yrs 26 26 3.71 145 74 506.1 469 223 209 66 142 497 2089 1.207 8.3 1.2 2.5 8.8 3.50
162 Game Avg. 8 8 3.71 45 23 157 146 69 65 20 44 154 649 1.207 8.3 1.2 2.5 8.8 3.50
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/30/2016.

Case for Smyly

  • Despite some up-and-down rates, Smyly has shown flashes of some strikeout peripherals, with 10.4 K/9 in 2015 stealing the spotlight. Even a step back to a 9.1 figure this year would put him right up there with Pittsburgh Pirates’ leaders in this area.
  • Smyly is under arbitration control through 2018.

Case against Smyly

  • Smyly is very home run prone at 1.7 HR/9. His Fly Ball rate of 46.9 in 2016 is well above the accepted average of 35 percent.
  • Smyly has had some injur history, with a torn labrum resulting in him missing significant time. He has not pitched more than 153 innings in his career.
  • I could analyce even more peripherals, but isn’t it fair to just wonder if the Pittsburgh Pirates could do better?

What it might take

If the Pittsburgh Pirates decide that Smyly is their target, the price tag will be considerably less than what the Rays might ask for the their headline trio of starting pitchers.

The Rays just graduated their top pitching prospect Blake Snell to the majors, but a wave of starting pitchers that could debut in 2017 sit right behind him. In terms of position players, the Rays are a little thin in the outfield at both the major-league and minor-league levels. The Pittsburgh Pirates could get away with a middle-tier prospect such as Barrett Barnes or Wily Garcia going back to the Rays. Garcia might even be a bit of an overpay, but Smyly’s ability to pitch out of the bullpen combined with his controllable years could result in general manager Neal Huntington paying a little more than what one normally would for Smyly.

Conclusions

There are better options out there for starting pitching, from Nathan Eovaldi to Hector Santiago. We’ve covered them all right here, and the Pirates would do well to focus their attention to other targets.

Featured Image Credit – Keith Allison 

Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years.

Jason’s previous stops include rumbunter.com, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA)

When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)

  • another pass. He is a few years from a mostly full and decent season. It would take a fairly substantial rebound and flip next season or off season to make any trade worth the value. We also have 3 other lefties posting similar numbers don’t add another to the mix.

    There are two reasons I would consider it.

    Salary relief. Would they take a package that included Liriano or Niese, a fringe prospect and got no cash back? Probably not… but worth asking.

    A swap for Locke and nothing else.

    Any other deal would be out of the question for me.

  • another pass. He is a few years from a mostly full and decent season. It would take a fairly substantial rebound and flip next season or off season to make any trade worth the value. We also have 3 other lefties posting similar numbers don’t add another to the mix.

    There are two reasons I would consider it.

    Salary relief. Would they take a package that included Liriano or Niese, a fringe prospect and got no cash back? Probably not… but worth asking.

    A swap for Locke and nothing else.

    Any other deal would be out of the question for me.