Sunday, December 9, 2012

Top 20 Prospects: #7 Matthew Smoral LHP

#7 Matthew Smoral LHP
Born: March 18, 1994 in Solon, Ohio, US (Age 18)
Acquired via: 1st round (50th) of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft from Solon HS (Solon, OH).
Bats: Left, Throws: Left
Height: 6' 8", Weight: 220 lb.
Baseball America Ranking: Not Listed
Baseball Prospectus Ranking: TBA
Fangraphs Ranking: #11 #8
Minor League Ball: #9                              

2012 Stats and Analysis:
Smoral did not play in 2012.


Scouting Report:
Before a stress fracture in Smoral’s right foot ended his season in April, he and Max Fried’s names were tossed around as being the top lefties in the 2012 draft class. This injury might end up as a blessing in disguise for the Toronto Blue Jays, as he fell in their laps in the middle of the 1st Compensation Round (50th Pick).  You can’t normally say this about a 220lb. guy, but Smoral and his 6’8” frame still have to fill out. You won’t find a more projectable frame than Smoral’s, and the sky is the limit for this kid. His fastball sat at 91-92mph and up to 94mph when he reached back in high school, but occasionally his velocity sat even higher. When Smoral fills out he could sit in the mid-90s with his fastball. Along with his projectable fastball, Smoral has a change-up and slider as his other offerings. The slider is good, with a chance to be absolutely filthy. He also features a slow-70s curve that can baffle hitters, but isn’t quite there yet. The change-up is the question mark—it looks good, but if it turns into a plus-pitch, Smoral could be as good as any pitcher in the organization.

2013? ETA? Projection?
Smoral will get his first taste of pro ball in 2012. His journey will probably start in Extended Spring Training, and progress to Bluefield (Rk), and maybe—if the Jays are aggressive—in Vancouver(A-) by years end. Baring any injuries or setbacks, Smoral could find himself in Toronto come 2016, and a small chance at reaching by late-2015, in the unlikely event that the Jays push him, or if their hand is forced. Right now Smoral is a huge question mark because he hasn’t pitched pro ball yet, but there is no questioning his ceiling. If absolutely everything goes right, Smoral could end up as a #2 pitcher in for the Jays, and he has drawn Madison Bumgarner comparisons because of the similar arm-slot, but his velocity could make him even better. Smoral has the fastball-slider combinations to a good power lefty, but if the secondary pitches come around, he could be absolutely nasty off the mound. Smoral seems like the typical boom-or-bust guy, which could be true, but I see his odds of getting to the majors being high, because his fastball-slider combo could carry him alone, even if it is just as a reliever. Smoral could find himself being one of the top prospects in baseball with time. Guess we’ll just wait and see!

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