Halo HQ Top 10 Prospects: #3 Nate Smith

By
Updated: February 13, 2017

Our third-ranked Halo prospect is a guy who can make an impact as early as next season in lefty Nate Smith.

Nate Smith

Profile: 6’3”/210 lbs; Born 8/28/1991 (age 25); Spokane, WA; Furman University; Drafted 2013, 8th round, 247th pick; SP; Bats Left/Throws Left

Halo HQ 30-80 Scale (Current/Ceiling)

Fastball: 55/55, Curveball: 50/55, Slider: 55/60, Changeup: 60/65, Control: 60/65, Overall: 55/60

Pitches

When Nate Smith’s name pops up, it usually pops up with Alex Meyer’s about who will be the Angels’ fifth starter next season. They couldn’t be more different pitchers. Smith is a finesse pitcher who relies on his breaking stuff to get outs. Meyer uses straight heat. Smith’s fastball won’t blow by hitters in the low 90s, but it has nice cutting action. It’s major league quality, just nothing flashy. His curveball has nice movement, but hangs in the zone from time to time. He has to get it down in order for it to be effective. His slider is a nice setup/strikeout pitch. It stays high in the zone at times, but Smith is gaining more and more control with it. His changeup is his best pitch. He throws it in the same arm slot as his fastball and dies right before it gets to the plate. It should be a quality strikeout pitch in the majors.

Stamina

Smith threw 150.1 innings before getting injured late last season. It was his third straight season of having 100+ innings thrown. Smith will get deep into games because he avoids walks and focuses on getting hitters out through contact. He will definitely give a team 8+ innings on a good night. He will be a workhorse, meaning the Angels can leave him in games long in order to preserve the bullpen.

Control

This is Smith’s bread and butter. He has decent or better control on all his pitches and throws a ton of strikes. He paints the corners extremely well and gets those borderline pitches called in his favor. Last season, he only walked 2.63 per nine with a K/9 rate of 7.30. Those are great numbers and Smith can easily achieve those in the majors.

Overall/Projections

Smith looks like he will enter the rotation sometime this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win the fifth starting spot out of Spring Training. As of now, Tyler Skaggs is the only lefty in the rotation. Another lefty wouldn’t hurt plus Jesse Chavez would probably be better as a middle relief option. If he does spend another year in AAA, he should take over for Ricky Nolasco in 2018. MLB.com projects him as a number four or five starter, but Smith’s makeup gives him the ceiling of a number two or three starter. He reminds me of a prime C.J. Wilson in that he gets hitters out while keeping the walks down. Smith has high floor, so I don’t see him any lower than fourth in the rotation.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login