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Drew Smyly has been really good since joining the Rays

Aug 23, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT

Drew Smyly AP AP

Many around the game were underwhelmed when the Rays acquired Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, and Willy Adames in the three-team David Price trade last month. It will probably take years before we can make a fair assessment on the deal, but the early returns are positive for Tampa Bay.

Drew Smyly tossed a two-hit shutout against the Blue Jays in Toronto last night as part of an 8-0 victory. It was his first career complete game.

Smyly struck out four and walked none and retired the final 19 batters he faced. He threw 75 out of 105 pitches for strikes in the gem.

Through four starts with Tampa Bay, Smyly owns a 1.55 ERA and 23/6 K/BB ratio over 29 innings. Prior to joining the Rays, the 25-year-old southpaw had never gone beyond seven innings in his previous 36 starts in the majors. He’s already done that twice with Tampa Bay.

  1. kinggator - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    I was underwhelmed, but am coming around after efforts like last night. Tip of the cap to Drew!

    • djpostl - Aug 23, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      I called it at the time of the trade and he has onl;y moved up this list since he got to TB.

      Since the start of 2012 season the list of AL starters w/ a lower ERA = Felix, Iwakuma, Sale, Price, Sanchez, Scherzer, Weaver, Cobb, Darvish, Shields, Acher. That’s it. Nobody else inthe AL over that span has had a lower ERA (his FIP is just a tick higher).

      • erbaodai - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:00 PM

        That’s a hell lot of pitcher you just listed, and Weaver, Cobb, Shields and Archer are not elite pitchers. Plus Smyly pitched a lot in relief last year.

      • djpostl - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:27 PM

        “Cobb, Shields and Archer are not elite pitchers” the numbers say different since 2012.

        Weaver has definitely begun his decline but in 2012 he was one of 3 or 4 best in MLB, 2013 had a rock solid season and this year has “fallen off” yet still maintains respectable set of numbers.

        Cobb is flat out very good. Anyone who thinks different really needs to watch him pitch more imo. Going back to the start of last year he has now logged 250+ IP of sub-3.00 ERA in the AL. That is top-tier, sorry.

        Archer is a bit of a riddle. He has some of the most electric stuff you’ll see at times, but he has some bad starts. That being said, he’s now working on 300+ IP since start of 2013 with an ERA barely above 3.10. So once again, you’re wrong.

        Shields has been one of the most-consistent top-tier AL pitchers for a while. He went through early part of career where he alternated 3ish ERA with 5ish ones, but once he turned the corner in 2011 he has now logged 900 IP of 3.20ish ERA in the AL. So sorry, you are wrong once again.

        As for Smyly as a reliever, even with some relief duty his 2012-2014 numbers are 73% as a starter. So once again…

  2. pwshrugged - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    He looks like he’s playing with a serious chip on his shoulder since the trade, and I don’t blame him. Good for Drew; I hope for the best for him out in TB.

    • indaburg - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Drew has been pitching with a lot of confidence, and it shows. He pitched a gem last night. At 105 pitches, it was almost a Maddux. Since coming to the Rays, his numbers have been fantastic. ERA+ 245. WHIP 0.759. FIP 2.61. He can’t maintain an ERA+ of 245–that would put him in Pedro Martinez territory, but so far, I like what I’ve seen. A lot of quick maturation from the young lefty, becoming more efficient with his pitches, going deeper into games. In turn, I’m quickly becoming a fan.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:52 PM

        I told you you’d like him. He’s not consistent and it still takes him a number of pitches to get the job done, but he’s got good potential. I really wanted him to work out for us.

      • indaburg - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:36 PM

        You did say that. If last night was his potential, I’m going to adore him.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:14 PM

        I guess you don’t remember his smoking MLB debut in 2012…against the Tampa Bay Rays:

        LOL He won against the Yanks in the post-season that year too. Confidence isn’t the kid’s problem.

      • indaburg - Aug 24, 2014 at 8:11 AM

        Too funny. Now that you mention it, it rings a bell. It’s normal for the Rays to make debuting pitchers appear like the next coming of Cy Young.

        Wow, 2012 seems like a long time ago.

  3. metrocritical - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Nice work, Drew! Although D. Price has pitched well for Detroit, the Tigers have struggled mightily since the trade. For a team with no offensive output from 5/9 of its lineup, it was a foolish risk to replace Austin Jackson with a middling minor leaguer. Chalk some of the team’s failures to untimely injuries, but DD’s golden touch has faded, and, aside from the Fielder trade and J.D. Martinez signing, he appears to have tinkered with the wrong parts of the roster since the end of 2013. As 2014 is steadily slipping away, we can only hope that he can afford to reshape the roster for next season because their are no real offensive heroes coming from the woeful minors in 2015.

  4. coryfor3 - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    He could be really good but unless he’s a HOFer the Rays still didn’t get enough
    In that trade

    • buddaley - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      I don’t think that is true. The object for the Rays is to maintain a competitive team while simultaneously building for the future. Many commentators have said that the Rays had Price for another year plus the last month’s of this season. Technically that was true, but in reality it wasn’t. Price would cost near $20 million in 2015. It is unlikely the Rays would have kept him at that cost, so the question becomes when would they have gotten more for him, in July or after the season.

      If Smyly becomes a strong #3 or even better, and if the Rays are right that both Franklin and Adames will contribute in the future, it will be an excellent return for Price. You can’t expect to acquire a HOF player when you trade an ace. You can only expect to maintain a competitive team at the time and in the future, and even Smyly alone may provide that for the next 3 years at least (while Price was gone after 2014 regardless) at an affordable cost with Franklin and Adames a bonus if either works out.

      The various other hopes/suggestions for deals all rested on the assumption that minor leaguers would develop into stars, while this one provided two such players, even if their ceilings are not considered as high as other hoped-for acquisitions, while also providing a current major leaguer who contributes now and in the future. So this deal was less risky than other possibilities, has a legitimate upside, and meets the goals the Rays set for themselves very nicely.

  5. raysfan1 - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    I wouldn’t have blinked an eye if the Rays had made the exact same trade in the off season. The fact that it was during the season is what made me expect a bit more. Still, it could work out for all three teams.

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