Flying under-the-radar due to his prospect status, New York Yankees left-handed prospect Caleb Smith is making an intriguing call-up case.
As the New York Yankees pitching staff flounders following the loss of CC Sabathia to injury, many love to point to Chance Adams. After all, he has the numbers (9-2, 1.74 ERA between Double/Triple-A) and the status (#95 of 100).
However, there is a low-key prospect tearing it up on the hill for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and he’s been doing it for quite some time now. That man is left-handed pitcher Caleb Smith, who returned to the organization from the Chicago Cubs after not earning a 40-man spot following the Rule-5 draft.
With the exception of one relief appearance in Trenton, Smith has spent the entirety of the 2017 season with the Railriders. In 15 games (14 starts), the southpaw is 7-0 with a 2.20 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 82 innings of work. He also ranks ahead of Adams in strikeout to walk ratio (3.48 to 2.89) and walk rate (2.8 to 3.4) meaning his command, which is a common critique of Adams, is much more advanced.
Furthermore, thanks to ranking second in ERA (2.20), third in WHIP (1.02) and first in batting average against (.205) among International League starters, Smith was selected to this year’s Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Wash. on Wednesday, July 12.
No, Smith isn’t on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, but he’s having a consistently strong season in Triple-A with seemingly no negatives. By calling Smith up instead of another arm like Adams or keeping Luis Cessa in the mix, the Yankees could have two lefties in their rotation until Sabathia returns from the DL in mid-July.
This is, by no means, a knock on Adams. He’s one of the best prospects in New York’s system and is surely on his way to debuting very soon but if any reinforcements are anticipated, they will surely come from within. Instead of accelerating Adams’ service clock at a time when he truly needs to work on his command, the fix from within could and should be in the form of Caleb Smith.