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Rule 5 Target - Burch Smith - RHP


Luke-OH

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So this is the first in a short series I will be doing on potential targets for the Orioles in the rule 5 draft.

Yes I know the rule 5 draft isn't of great consequence, but this is a slow part of the year and it usually generates a lot of discussion around here.

Also, all players that I cover in this series are going to be players that I have watched multiple games of video on.  So this isn't just me ripping other people's scouting reports or scouting the stat lines.

So with that said here we go.

Burch Smith

Background

Smith is 27, a bit older than the typical rule 5 draft choice.  He had TJS in 2015 and just returned to action this season.  He already made his big league debut back in 2014 and was competing for a rotation spot in 2015 when he was injured.  He pitched 56 innings, mostly at AA and AAA this season.  He was a starter for all but one of those outings and was gradually stretched out.  His last 5 starts were all 5+ innings.  Then he went to the AFL and pitched another 20 innings, and had the best K/9 of all the pitchers there who predominately started.

Physical

Smith is a tall (6'4") slender righty with a slightly violent, but repeatable delivery.  He uses his lower half aggressively and has a whippy arm action that adds deception.

Stuff

I watched video of his final 3 starts of the season and I was shocked this guy was unprotected.  He flashed 4 above average pitches or better pitches.  The quality of the stuff was very inconsistent (all pitches also showed below average at times) but that's to be expected coming off 2 years of no pitching.  The fastball ranged from 88-96, usually sitting 90-93 with armside run and explosive life when located in the top of the zone for whiffs (which he did well).  He has a sharp 1 to 7 hammer of a curve, that comes and goes (one game he didn't have it at all) but when it's on, oh boy.  He has two change-ups, one that is straight and he throws with great arm speed (I like this one better).  He also has another change (split change maybe) that has drop and armside tumble, it looks like hitters can see this out of his hand sometimes, but it does have plus movement.  

Control/Command

He loses his release point at times, but is generally in the zone, very aggressive with hitters (sometimes to his detriment).  He does a nice job of commanding his pitches up and down, but it's average command overall.

Why was he left unprotected

He's coming off injury and he loses his stuff after about 40 pitches at this point.  He's 27 years old.

Why the Orioles should pick him

He's got big league stuff, and a starter's repertoire, even if it's not a starter's delivery.  If he can hold his stuff better, he's Ynoa with much better secondaries.  He could compete for the 5th rotation spot and if he doesn't win it, he'd be a useful bullpen piece.   

Edit: He pitches in A+ ball and AAA, I miss read the stats.

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@phillyOs119

 

How does he compare to Barlow? A former 6 th rounder of the Dodgers?

he had a good season but not great results at AAA. It looks like they tried to rush him a couple of times. This is a guy I would've tried to trade my slot money for over the guy we picked up.

 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=barlow000sco

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39 minutes ago, Roll Tide said:

@phillyOs119

 

How does he compare to Barlow? A former 6 th rounder of the Dodgers?

he had a good season but not great results at AAA. It looks like they tried to rush him a couple of times. This is a guy I would've tried to trade my slot money for over the guy we picked up.

 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=barlow000sco

He’s a free agent, you wouldn’t have to trade anything for him.

 

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44 minutes ago, Roll Tide said:

@phillyOs119

 

How does he compare to Barlow? A former 6 th rounder of the Dodgers?

he had a good season but not great results at AAA. It looks like they tried to rush him a couple of times. This is a guy I would've tried to trade my slot money for over the guy we picked up.

 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=barlow000sco

The money we were not using may have been a pest or future consideration. I think in lieu of the Red Sox, Nationals, and Atlanta scandals that the Orioles will stay the course in International waters. Curacao or bust!

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54 minutes ago, weams said:

The money we were not using may have been a pest or future consideration. I think in lieu of the Red Sox, Nationals, and Atlanta scandals that the Orioles will stay the course in International waters. Curacao or bust!

Perhaps you misunderstood? I was simply comparing The player you posted about with Barlow of the Dodgers who is available in the rule 5

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Burch Smith will be 28 in April.   He missed 2015 and 2016 with TJ surgery.  He pitched 16.1 innings at AAA last year.  37 innings at A+ and 3 in a rookie league.   While he had a  1.65 ERA and a 0.796 WHIP in 3 starts at AAA, its clear why Tampa did not protect him.   He as barely pitched above A+ ball since his TJ surgery and at 28 many teams will pass on him.  

It would probably be hard for the O's to keep in on the 25 man roster all year.  He would probably have to go to the pen and with unknowns in the  rotation the pen spots probably get a lot on work next year.

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13 minutes ago, wildcard said:

Burch Smith will be 28 in April.   He missed 2015 and 2016 with TJ surgery.  He pitched 16.1 innings at AAA last year.  37 innings at A+ and 3 in a rookie league.   While he had a  1.65 ERA and a 0.796 WHIP in 3 starts at AAA, its clear why Tampa did not protect him.   He as barely pitched above A+ ball since his TJ surgery and at 28 many teams will pass on him.  

It would probably be hard for the O's to keep in on the 25 man roster all year.  He would probably have to go to the pen and with unknowns in the  rotation the pen spots probably get a lot on work next year.

I’m not too worried about his age.   This is a guy who Tampa expected to be on their major league roster in 2015, and who has pitched in the majors for 36 innings several years ago.   At least two organizations thought he had major league stuff.    If he’s healthy, he might be worth a shot.  

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Evaluation on players are often subjective.   I always have to look at the easily found facts to see how bias the report seems to be.   There are couple of red flag in the report and one in your rely.

1) The report says "He pitched 56 innings, mostly at AA and AAA this season. "   That simply in not true.  He pitched 16.1 inning is 3 starts at AAA.   The rest was at A+ or below.   This is important because pitchers jump from AA ball to the majors occasionally.   Not so much from A+ ball.

2) While it is true that Smith in 27 its shows some amount of bias to not point out he will be 28 in April just after the season begins.

3) Your statement that he pitched 36 innings  in the majors is true but you didn't mention that he had a 6.44 ERA in those innings.  We have seen pitchers that pitch well at AAA but can't make the jump to the majors.  Mike Wright comes to mind.

I don't think the O's would draft Smith with the idea of putting him in the rotation with only 16.1 innings and 3 starts above A+ ball in the last three years.   They could stretch him out in ST and see what they got but should not expect him to be one the three starters they need.    That would put him probably in long relief if he could make the team.  Out of 61 games in the minors he has relieved 3 times.   Can he do that?

Its a gamble to draft him based on 3 starts last year and what he did 4 years ago before TJ surgery.  Its normal for the Rule 5 guy to be a gamble.   This one certainly would be.

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I’m not advocating Burch, because I don’t know who else is out there, but he seems like a viable candidate, that’s all.     And remember, there’s no law saying you have to keep the Rule 5 guy.    You can draft him, have a look in spring training, and if you don’t like what you see, offer him back.    If they take him back you’re out $25 k.    And of course, like last year, we can pick two different guys if we see two we like, and keep nobody or the one we like better.

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6 minutes ago, Frobby said:

I’m not advocating Burch, because I don’t know who else is out there, but he seems like a viable candidate, that’s all.     And remember, there’s no law saying you have to keep the Rule 5 guy.    You can draft him, have a look in spring training, and if you don’t like what you see, offer him back.    If they take him back you’re out $25 k.    And of course, like last year, we can pick two different guys if we see two we like, and keep nobody or the one we like better.

It doesn't change your point, but I believe that the new Rule 5 dollar amounts are now $100K to draft a player and $50K to take a player back.  Seems to me that I read that somewhere.

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