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MLB Rookie Report: Jake Smith, RHP, San Diego Padres

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One of my pet theories about baseball is that some players suffer from Boring Name Syndrome. A possible example is right-hander Jake Smith, promoted by the San Diego Padres to bolster the major league bullpen in September. He made his MLB debut on September 7th giving up two hits and a run in one innings of relief work against the Boston Red Sox.

Smith was originally drafted in the 48th round in 2011 by the San Francisco Giants out of Campbell University. Considered roster-filler initially, he built up his physical strength and improved his mechanics, emerging in 2014 with a decent campaign in Low-A (2.79, 77/30 K/BB in 58 innings). He took off in 2015, posting a 2.35 ERA with 16 saves for High-A San Jose with a spectacular 118/21 K/BB in 84 innings with just 50 hits allowed. This got him a spot on the Giants 40-man roster heading into 2016.

Control problems and injuries struck this spring and he posted an ERA of 7.08 in 20 innings in Double-A for the Giants. The Padres claimed him on waivers in July and he looked better after switching organizations, allowing one run in 5.2 innings of work. Now he's in the majors.

Smith is a 6-4, 190 pounder born June 2nd, 1990. He's been clocked as high as 95 MPH in the minors though in his MLB debut he topped out at 92. He'll mix in a cutter, a change-up, and a curveball, with the curve considered his best offering, at least against minor leaguers. His command was a real issue this spring but sharpened up after the Padres picked him up, granted the sample is small.

Overall this is a middle relief profile but his high strikeout rates are intriguing.

There are no wire service photos of Smith available, nor are there any public videos that I can post here. Boring Name Syndrome?