When the Mets said goodbye to slugger Lucas Duda via trade in 2017, they received hard-throwing right-hander Drew Smith in return. Smith made his major league debut with the Mets the following season. He was a bright spot out of the bullpen in 2018, with his 3.54 ERA in 28 innings suggesting a promising future.
The next year in spring training, with his eyes on a permanent spot in the Mets bullpen, Smith tore his UCL after four scoreless appearances. He had Tommy John surgery in March of last year, missing all of the 2019 season. Given his relatively brief tenure in Queens so far, Mets fans may have forgotten about him.
But Smith is too important to ignore. At age 26, he has yet to pitch a full season in the major leagues and is still relatively unseasoned at the big league level. Names like Lugo, Betances, Edwin Diaz, and Jeurys Familia may be grabbing most of the headlines early on in this baseball restart, but Smith was included on the 60 player pool for a reason. The Amazins clearly believe he is healthy enough to contribute on the field, and Smith aims to prove that his newly repaired right arm will hold up to a major league pitching workload.
“I try not to think about my elbow or throwing too hard or too slow, anything like that,” said Smith in a February 2020 interview. “I’m just doing exactly what I did before surgery and letting everything else take care of itself.”
With any luck, it will.