Here is a closer look at the former Tigers & Rays farmhand the Mets received in the Lucas Duda trade
The New York Mets officially initiated sell mode when they shipped Lucas Duda to Tampa Bay on Thursday afternoon. The return was Drew Smith, who was the 30th ranked prospect in the Rays’ organization. Smith has been assigned to Double-A Binghamton.
Listed at 6’2” and 190 pounds, the Fort Worth, Texas native will turn 24 late this season (September 24). This is his third year of pro ball and he has spent it across three levels. Smith pitched briefly at the Triple-A level in Durham and was most recently at Double-A Montgomery. Between four stops, Smith has seven saves in 31 relief appearances and a 1.60 ERA. He has allowed just nine walks and 32 hits in 45 innings.
Smith has already been well traveled this season. He was originally with the Tigers’ organization to begin the year, but was traded as the player to be named later in a deal that sent Mikie Mahtook to Detroit. Thursday’s deal will mark the beginning of the third organization Smith has played for in three years.
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Smith attended Dallas Baptist and in his final season, was part of a Patriots squad that went 46-15 in 2015. He was college teammates with Chance Adams and was drafted ahead of Adams who is now the top-rated pitching prospect in a loaded Yankees farm system. Smith was a third round choice while Adams was drafted in the fifth round.
If all goes well, then Smith could be a viable arm in the backend of the Mets’ bullpen by next year. The Mets are probably going to trade away Addison Reed, so that will leave some holes to fill in the later innings for Smith and whoever else the Mets acquire through any prospective deals or free agency.
A hard thrower who routinely sits in the mid-90s and can reach back for extra, Smith has a plus fastball that grades out at 65 and a curveball that grades as an above average 55 according to MLBPipeline. Also consider even though he seems like a lowly rated prospect, Smith was in a highly regarded farm system. We’ll most likely see Smith in a Mets uniform at least in 2018, if not later this season.
It’s all potential versus what the Mets gave up which was an established power hitting first baseman when healthy. The full value of the return won’t be recognized immediately, but that’s what all these moves will be about. The Mets desperately needed to build depth and stockpile some quality arms in their farm system. This trade has laid the groundwork.