Mets reliever Drew Smith is the lone bright spot from the 2017 fire sale
By Zach Diamond
Despite making multiple deals at the 2017 trade deadline, the only positive addition the New York Mets landed was relief pitcher Drew Smith.
Most New York Mets fans try to blackout the miserable 2017 season after the team finished 70-92 and salary dumped beloved players from their 2015-16 playoff teams. The Mets traded Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson, and Lucas Duda in exchange for a whopping total of seven relief pitchers.
The relief pitchers acquired were Jamie Callahan, Gerson Bautista, Stephen Nogosek, Ryder Ryan, Eric Hanhold, Jacob Rhame, and Drew Smith.
Out of all of these pitchers, only one is still on the Mets in 2020. Smith, acquired for Duda, has been the one pitcher that has shown some value in a Mets uniform.
Smith was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft. In April 2017, the Tigers traded Smith to the Tampa Bay Rays for Mikie Mahtook. Later that July, the Rays traded Smith to the Mets.
Over the course of the 2017 minor league season with five different MiLB clubs, Smith pitched in 42 games for an ERA of 1.65 and a WHIP of 0.90, a sign of good things to come.
In June 2018, the Mets called Smith up to the major leagues. Smith finished the season with 28 innings with an ERA of 3.54 and a FIP of 3.66. Smith struck out 18 batters compared to walking only six batters. He gave up 34 hits over his 28 innings, finishing with a high WHIP of 1.43. Smith had an fWAR of 0.3.
Smith proved himself in 2018 that he had the ability to be a quality pitcher in the Mets bullpen. However, before he had the chance to prove in 2019 that he belonged on the Mets, Smith hurt his elbow in Spring Training and needed to get Tommy John surgery- forcing him to miss the entire 2019 season.
After rehabbing through 2019, Smith made the 2020 July Opening Day roster, surely benefiting from the late start to the season. Had the season begun as normal in April, Smith may not have been ready and recovered from his surgery from the year before.
So far in 2020, Smith has pitched in three appearances for a total of 2.2 innings. Smith has faced eight batters and struck out four of them. He hasn’t given up any hits, runs, or walks. While a very small sample size, Smith is looking like he will improve upon his productive 2018 season.
Out of the seven pitchers the Mets acquired in 2017, the only ones still in the organization are Smith, Stephen Nogosek, and Ryder Ryan. While Ryan has yet to make the majors, Nogosek debuted in 2019, pitching 6.2 innings over seven games, giving up 12 hits and 8 runs. His ERA of 10.80 and WHIP of 2.10 will certainly need improvement before Nogosek appears with the Mets again.
Considering Smith is not turning 27 until September and under team control for a couple of years, Smith is the one most likely to establish himself as a member of the Mets bullpen for the next few seasons if he is able to improve upon his 2018 season.
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While the rest of the arms acquired in 2017 have been busts, Smith is the best of the bunch and will hopefully positively contribute to the Mets bullpen in 2020.