Name: Caleb Smith
Draft: 2013 14th round pick out of Sam Houston State
Size: 6-foot-3, 180-pounds
Fastball: 95 mph
Other Pitchers: Slider, Changeup
BBDP Ranking: 48
Born and raised in Huntsville, Texas, Caleb Smith has been in Texas most of his life. He attended college at Sam Houston State University, where he was a starting pitcher. This past season Smith had a decent year at Sam Houston State. He had a 3.44 ERA with 68 strikeouts and 60 walks in 89 innings. He struggled with control but he was effective as a starter for a major program.
He was drafted in the 14th round in the 2013 draft by the Yankees. Surprisingly, he had almost no problems with control when he arrived in Staten Island. He had 57 strikeouts in 51.1 innings and a 1.93 ERA this season. He had just 2.8 BB/9. He was stellar all year, including when he was called up for a spot start in Trenton late in the season. His stuff and newfound control have the organization excited that they could have a future left handed starter on their hands.
Smith had a phenomenal season statistically for Staten Island, and his stuff is legit. He has a 93 mph fastball which has touched 95 mph. It’s a two seamer with late action and hitters have a lot of trouble with it. He also throws a circle change which he has a solid feel for. He hides the ball well and batters thus have a lot of trouble picking up hit pitches.
He also throws a slider, which was inconsistent this year. If he wants to get lefties out he will have to improve it. The good news is that is a point of emphasis in his development and he appears to be making bigtime strides in that direction.
Scouts from around the league were impressed with Smith in Staten Island, especially with his fastball changeup combo.
Ceiling and Floor:
Given his stuff right now and his age, his ceiling is that of a number three starter. It’s always possible there could be an uptick which would increase his ceiling, but a third starter is nothing to scoff at. If he is able to nail down that slider he will be an effective lefty in the bigs. His floor is pretty high as well. He could bust but that likely won’t happen until Triple-A at least, and he has a great shot to be at least a middle reliever at this point.
With new minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, it’s tough to say how aggressive the Yankees will be with Smith. The most likely destination for him would be High-A Tampa, but I could see the Yankees being conservative with him and starting him in Low-A. I’ve never seen the Yankees be so aggressive to put a guy straight in Double-A, but I wouldn’t put it completely out of the realm of possibilities.
Overall Smith is a fantastic steal where the Yankees got him in the draft. You simply don’t find this kind of talent in the 14th round and it’s another example of the Yankees having excellent scouting for picks outside of the top 200 in the draft. He is a huge sleeper candidate this season and may really shock some people with his output.
Up next- Prospect Profile: Jake Cave