Joe Smith (pitcher)
Smith with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – No. 38
March 22, 1984 |
|April 1, 2007 for the New York Mets|
(through August 9, 2015)
|Earned run average||2.80|
Joseph Michael Smith (born March 22, 1984) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the New York Mets and Cleveland Indians. He is 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) and weighs 215 pounds (98 kg). He attended Wright State University and was drafted by the Mets in the third round of the 2006 amateur draft. He was the second player from the 2006 draft to make it to the major leagues.
High school and college years
A three-year varsity letterman at Amelia High School and a Division I All-Fort Ancient Valley Conference honoree, Smith also pitched five years for the select AABC Midland team in Cincinnati. Even through his labrum surgery he was dedicated to return to baseball. In college he was redshirted and played three years in the Horizon League. In 2005, Wright State (WSU) assistant coach Greg Lovelady suggested Smith should drop down to a side-arm delivery, which typically adds movement and subtracts velocity. Ultimately, Smith became Wright State's closer his junior and senior year, as he gained 4-6 mph on his fastball after changing his delivery. He had 13 saves his senior season and a 0.98 ERA. In three seasons Smith posted 22 saves, 145 strikeouts, and 39 walks. In 2005 he was the WSU team MVP and in 2006 he was awarded second team All-Mideast Region, first team Horizon League, Horizon League Pitcher of the Year and WSU Most Valuable Male Athlete.
In the late summer of 2004, Smith experienced summerball with the NECBL with the North Adams Steeplecats. Then in 2005 Smith briefly pitched for the Rockville Express, a team in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League In 2005 he made nine appearances for the Express, posting a 4.66 ERA, a 1–0 record and earning two saves. Later in the summer of 2005, Smith also pitched for the Edenton Steamers in the Coastal Plain League. In 16 regular season appearances, totaling 17.1 innings, he tallied nine saves with a 2.08 ERA, .197 batting average against, and struck out 19 batters. He also recorded the final out of the 2005 Petitt Cup tournament, on a comebacker, to give Edenton its second consecutive league championship. Less than two years later Smith became the first Steamers' alumnus to appear in the majors.
New York Mets
Smith first began his career with Brooklyn (A) of the New York-Penn League by allowing two runs, one earned in one inning of work against the Staten Island Yankees on June 21. He was named one of the top 20 prospects in the New York-Penn League by Baseball America. When Duaner Sánchez was hurt during a taxi cab incident in 2006, Mets general manager Omar Minaya considered bringing up Smith to the Majors. Instead, the Mets traded for Roberto Hernández and Oliver Pérez to give Smith more time in the minors. On March 24, 2007, after a strong spring training, it was announced Smith would be on the Mets' 25-man roster. On April 1, 2007, Smith made his major league debut. He struck out one (Preston Wilson) and walked one (Albert Pujols). He also gave up a single to David Eckstein. Smith earned his first major league win on April 24, 2007 after coming on in relief in the 12th inning. Smith enjoyed much success in the beginning of 2007 but slowly began to tire and was sent down to the minors mid year. Smith was with the Mets for all of the 2008 Season enjoying varied success. He went 6–3 in 63.3 innings with a 3.55 ERA.
On December 10, 2008, Smith was traded by the Mets to the Cleveland Indians as part of a twelve-player, three-team deal. On January 18, 2013, the Cleveland Indians announced they had avoided arbitration with Smith, signing him to a one-year contract worth $3.15 million.
Smith became a free agent following the 2013 season but has expressed interest in remaining with the tribe.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
On November 24, 2013, Smith reportedly agreed to a three-year contract for $15 million with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, pending the completion of a physical. On November 27, 2013, the Angels confirmed that the team and Smith agreed to the terms. On April 25, 2014, Smith was named the Angels' new closer after multiple struggles by former closer Ernesto Frieri. After the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim traded for San Diego Padres' All-Star closer Huston Street on July 18, 2014, Smith was moved to an 8th inning setup role.
Smith's pitching style is different from most. According to hitters, he comes at the batter from third base. His release point is about 8:30 on the analog clock, lower than side armed, and higher than submarine. Smith's fastball usually is at 88-92 mph and has been known to hit 94 mph. His fastball can even be considered a sinker because of its hard downward movement. He routinely gets ground balls because of this. Smith also throws a slider and a changeup.
Smith is married to Allie LaForce of CBS. In 2012, Smith's mother was diagnosed with an inherited disease known as Huntington's disease; the condition leads to the death of nerve cells in the brain. Smith has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the condition and says that he will be tested for it before he has children.
- "2005 CRSCBL Statistics". Retrieved 26 March 2008.
- Mlb.com box score
- Indians, Mariners, Mets complete trade
- Meisel, Zack (January 18, 2013). "Indians sign Perez, Smith to one-year deals". MLB.com. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- "Ubaldo Jimenez Leads Cleveland Indians' Free Agent Crop".
- Gonzalez, Alden (November 24, 2013). "Angels to sign former Indians reliever Smith". MLB.com. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
- Noble, Marty. "Mets like what they see in Smith", February 19, 2007. accessed July 7, 2007.
- Dwyre, Bill. "Angels' Joe Smith is not nearly as common as his name". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)