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.
#Pirates have a scout in Tampa tonight to see Drew Smyly's start vs Yankees, per source. Rays have several starters they are open to moving.
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) July 30, 2016
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.
|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|
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.
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