Dylan Smith was an 18th round pick in 2018 out of Stafford High School by the San Diego Padres. He decided to honor his commitment to Alabama and things didn’t look great in his first two years with the Tide. This season, Smith has turned it around and is now may go as high as the second round. Let’s take a look at what skills the Texas native brings to the draft.
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Dylan Smith, RHP, Alabama
Weight: 200 lbs.
2019: 13 G (0 starts) – 6.48 ERA, 12/11 K/BB rate in 16.2 IP
2020: 4 G (1 start) – 5.68 ERA, 6/3 K/BB rate in 6.1 IP
2021: 16 G (16 starts) – 3.84 ERA, 113/20 K/BB rate in 98.1 IP
Smith has improved just about everything this season. He became a staple of the rotation after pitching out of the bullpen in his first two years for the Tide. Averaging over six innings per start, Smith proved he can handle a big workload and some tough lineups in the SEC.
The right-hander knows how to spin a slider. It is a plus pitch right now and is a solid weapon diving away from righties. Smith throws it in the low-to-mid 80s and has very good feel for it. His curveball comes in at 76-79 mph and has good downward break to it. It is an effective offspeed pitch that works well in combination with his slider and his fastball.
Speaking of the heater, Smith now throws it 90-93 and can touch 95 since adding a few pounds to his frame. The fastball has good riding arm-side life and scouts believe there may be another uptick in velocity in the future. He has a fairly smooth delivery with not too much effort. Throwing from a 3/4 slot, Smith can repeat his mechanics well. With his solid, athletic build, he should be able to handle a rotation spot.
While “Da Real Deal” has a very good mix of pitches, there is some refinement to be done. Overall, his control is good, but his command needs some work. He can be susceptible to the long ball as he surrendered 14 home runs this season with Alabama. His mechanics are sound and he already has at least decent feel for his four pitches. If Smith can avoid getting too much of the plate and change the batter’s eye level a bit more, he could be in a major-league rotation for years to come.
Pro Comparison: Tanner Roark
Aside from their size, Smith also has a similar pitch mix to the Atlanta Braves right-hander. In his prime with the Washington Nationals, Roark was a fastball-slider-curveball pitcher and threw them around 92-86-77 mph respectively. The velocity fits right in with what Smith brings to the draft this season. I think the former Alabama righty has more strikeout upside than Roark did (he was a 25th round pick) and will be drafted much earlier.
Draft Projection: Round 3, Pick 73, Texas Rangers
The Rangers bring Smith home. After selecting prep lefty Josh Hartle in the second round, Texas goes with the college arm to pair with Cole Winn who should be hitting the majors soon. If Smith can improve his command and move up the ranks quickly, the Rangers could be making some noise in the American League West in a couple of years.
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