Josh Smith

Born: October 11, 1989
Height: 6′ 3″
Weight: 194
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 25th Round, 766th Overall, 2012
How Acquired: Draft
College: Wichita State
Agent: N/A


Smith pitched all four years with Wichita State, and had good numbers his final two years in the rotation.  He throws in the upper 80s, touching 90-91 MPH with a two seam fastball that has good movement.  Smith also throws a changeup and a slider. He has above-average command of all of his pitches.  Smith signed quickly after the draft.

A-:  2-1-0, 3.68 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 29.1 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 7.1 K/9

Smith had OK numbers pitching in relief for State College.  Opponents hit .270 against him, but he allowed no HRs and recorded more than two groundouts for every flyball out.  He was tough on left-handed batters, who hit only .158 against him, but right-handed batters hit .325.

R:  1-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 1.0 IP, 9.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
A:  1-1-1, 6.75 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 24.0 IP, 3.8 BB/9, 6.4 K/9

Smith opened the season in the West Virginia bullpen.  He mostly struggled until late May, then went on the disabled list for unknown reasons.  Smith returned just to make one brief appearance in the GCL.

A+:  4-2-8, 1.93 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 56.0 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 8.2 K/9

Smith pitched in relief for Bradenton and had a far better season than the previous year.  Opponents hit only 191/297/246 against him and he missed a lot more bats.  A lot of his success resulted from left-handed hitters being completely unable to do anything with him; he held them to an OPS of .309.  Against right-handed batters, it was .714.

AA:  1-4-0, 5.29 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 47.2 IP, 6.4 BB/9, 5.9 K/9

Smith pitched in relief for Altoona all year.  He got off to a rough start, with an ERA of 10.26 in April and May.  In fact, with the rest of the Curve’s staff getting off to a remarkable start early in the year, there was a stretch in the early season where Smith had given up nearly all of the runs allowed by the entire staff.  He recovered partly, having good months in June and August, but another bad stretch in July.  His overall walk and K rates obviously were very bad.  He remained effective against left-handed batters, allowing them an OPS of .583, but right-handed batters posted an .818 figure.

AA:  2-2-2, 6.44 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 57.1 IP, 4.7 BB/9, 9.6 K/9
AAA:  0-2-0, 7.36 ERA, 2.32 WHIP, 7.1 IP, 4.9 BB/9, 8.6 K/9

Smith returned to Altoona and continued to pitch poorly.  He improved his walk and K rates a lot, but his control was still bad and he got hit harder.  On the season, he gave up a HR every seven innings and allowed a slugging average of .508.  He continued to pitch well against left-handed hitters, who had an OPS against him of .615, but right-handed hitters torched him to the tune of 1.078.  The Pirates moved him up to AAA in mid-August, when Indianapolis was short of pitchers, and he was overmatched there.

The Pirates must see some ability in Smith, as he’s spent large portions of three seasons in AA and pitched very badly throughout.  Possibly it’s his performance against left-handed batters, but even in the majors LOOGYs typically face right-handed batters about half the time.  Smith’s overall numbers show how that’s working and, in any event, the Pirates are philosophically opposed to the concept of LOOGYs.  If Smith returns in 2017, it’ll probably be at Altoona yet again.

2017: Minor league contract.
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut:
MiLB FA Eligible: 2018
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
June 7, 2011: Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 26th round, 791st overall.
June 6, 2012:
Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 25th round, 766th overall pick; signed on June 13.