CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe
Strength of Schedule Report
<< Previous Article
Premium Article On the Beat: No-Hittin... (05/09)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Carlos Ma... (05/04)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Kevin Gau... (05/22)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Mailbag: The S... (05/10)

May 10, 2013

The Call-Up

Burch Smith

by Jason Cole and Bret Sayre

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.

a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

The Situation: With Clayton Richard becoming the latest Padres starter to land on the DL, the club is calling up Smith from Double-A San Antonio. He’ll join the rotation and make his big-league debut against Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Background: San Diego’s 14th-round pick in the 2011 draft, Smith was selected out of the University of Oklahoma after beginning his collegiate career at Texas JUCO power Howard College. The right-hander’s velocity has jumped a tick since his college days, and his command continues to improve. Following a solid full-season debut at High-A Lake Elsinore last season, Smith has been the Texas League’s most dominant starter in the early going this year. Through six starts, he has yielded just four earned runs on 17 hits in 31.1 innings, walking six and striking out 37. The Texan did not rank in Baseball Prospectus’ top 10 Padres prospects over the offseason, though he certainly would if they were re-ranked today.

Scouting Report: Smith’s calling card is his big fastball, which sits between 92-96 mph and reached triple digits during a recent start against Midland. He was up to 98 mph and held his velocity through five innings and 70 pitches when I saw him on April 23. Some debate exists over Smith’s future role; many scouts believe he’ll eventually find a home as a late-inning reliever, but his fastball velocity, repeatable delivery, command, and deception give him a chance to stick in a rotation.

Although the 6-foot-4 hurler lacks plus fastball life and creates little downward plane with his drop-and-drive delivery, he hides the ball extremely well. Hitters don’t see the baseball until it explodes out of his hand, enabling his velocity to play up a tick and induce consistently late swings. He has a plus-plus fastball with a plus command/control profile. Much of that starter/reliever debate comes because Smith doesn’t have big secondaries––he’ll feature a potential average changeup and a fringy curveball/slider mix. If he’s able to locate the offspeed effectively, though, the total package with the fastball may be enough for him to find a home as a mid-to-back rotation starter. If not, he should have little trouble ultimately settling in as a late-inning arm.

Immediate Big-League Future: At present, there’s no telling whether the 23-year-old righty is being called up to fill a temporary void or is set for a longer look. His success (or lack thereof) in the short term may determine that. While Richard is on the DL with a relatively minor intestinal virus, he has also struggled with mechanics and has allowed 28 runs in 26.1 innings. The Padres have three young starting options on the 60-day DL (Casey Kelly, Cory Luebke, Joe Wieland), so Smith may have the opportunity to pitch his way into a full-time role this season. He’s a relatively polished arm who should have at least some success if he continues to command the fastball. —Jason Cole


Burch Smith, RHP, San Antonio Missions (4/23/2013) from Jason Cole on Vimeo.

And a GIF, courtesy of @woedoctor:

Fantasy Impact: Smith may have the highest actual value-to-name recognition ratio of any prospect who's gotten the Call-Up post treatment so far this year. This obscurity stems from Smith’s absence from preseason Padres prospect lists, though some of that was due to the huge depth in their farm system. What Smith has going for him from a fantasy perspective is the same thing I said about Tony Cingrani when he came up: deception can go a long way towards impressive initial results. Of course, he's not as good a fantasy prospect as Cingrani, but the point still stands.

In NL-only formats, any San Diego starting pitcher becomes relevant, and Smith is no exception. Unfortunately, as his stay may be abbreviated, you're probably not going to want to go much higher than $3-4 in FAAB, unless your team is desperate for pitching. There is a chance that he’ll stick, so this isn't an Allen Webster one-and-done situation (and no, I still don't want to talk about it). In mixed redraft leagues, he's a name to file away in case he puts together a nice stretch. If all goes as well as possible, he could be a nice start at home in 12-team leagues and deeper. In dynasty formats, this is actually a guy who might be unowned, even if your roster has minor-league spots—so do the due diligence and see if he's owned. He is definitely worth stashing in any format deeper than 12 teams, as he could be a very useful pitcher if his 2013 development is a real step forward. —Bret Sayre

Jason Cole is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here
Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Scouting,  Minor Leagues,  Padres,  Burch Smith,  Call Up

1 comment has been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article On the Beat: No-Hittin... (05/09)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Carlos Ma... (05/04)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Kevin Gau... (05/22)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Mailbag: The S... (05/10)

Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: A Few of My Favorite Dyna...
BP En Espanol: Confesiones de un falso manag...
What You Need to Know: Best of the Best
Short Relief: Our Large Retired Sons
BP Toronto
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Half-Truths and Collision Cours...
Baseball Prospectus News: Subscription Price...

MORE FROM MAY 10, 2013
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Turn Back the Clock N...
Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: Due Diligence
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, May 10
Fantasy Mailbag: The Stanton Waiting Game
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Seven
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: May 10th, ...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Four Hot Hitters

2013-05-17 - Fantasy Beat: Weekly #streameroftheday Updat...
2013-05-20 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: May 20
2013-05-17 - BP Unfiltered: Hot Prospect Video: Kaleb Cow...
2013-05-10 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Burch Smith
2013-05-01 - Premium Article Scouting the Southern League
2013-04-25 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Robbie Erlin
2013-04-17 - BP Unfiltered: Hot Prospect Video: Lewis Bri...

2013-05-28 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Nate Karns
2013-05-24 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Sean Nolin
2013-05-22 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Kevin Gausman
2013-05-10 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Burch Smith
2013-05-04 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Carlos Martinez
2013-04-30 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Marcell Ozuna
2013-04-29 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Nolan Arenado