The BoSox Injection staff’s preview of the Boston Red Sox 25-man roster continues with a look at reliever Carson Smith.
2015 Stats: 2-5, 70.0 IP, 2.31 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 11.83 K/9, 2.3 WAR
This offseason, the Boston Red Sox made quite a few moves including a trade with the Seattle Mariners. This exchange brought reliever Carson Smith and pitcher Roenis Elias to Boston and sent starter Wade Miley and reliever Jonathan Aro to Seattle. In this trade, Smith was really the more valued player and he will hopefully have a positive impact as a relief pitcher for the Red Sox in 2016.
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Even though Smith was selected in the eighth round of the 2011 MLB draft and only has one year of MLB experience, he has proven that he is talented. So talented in fact that Seattle promoted this rookie to the closer role in June of 2015 when then-closer Fernando Rodney began to struggle. Smith was able to record 13 saves and only blew five saves despite his inexperience at the Major League level.
His success in the big leagues all started back in 2014 when he made his MLB debut on September 1. During his nine appearances that fall, Smith did not allow a single run. When 2015 rolled around, he again did not allow a run for the first 11 outings of that year. Ultimately, Smith set a Seattle Mariners’ record by not allowing a single run in 20 appearances to start his MLB career.
Smith’s success if largely due to his delivery. Batters have a hard time reading his sidearm pitching style. Additionally, even though Smith’s velocity only stays in the mid-90s, he mostly throws sliders and sinkers as opposed to fastballs.
As the Red Sox rebuilt the bullpen this offseason, the goal was to acquire some key young pieces who could become staples in the pen for years to come. Smith will definitely be that for the BoSox. He is only 26 years old and will not be a free agent until 2021.
It is expected that Smith will be a late inning relief pitcher, and maybe even a setup man in 2016. All he has to do is continue to pitch well and he will be rewarded with a good bullpen role. With Smith now added to the pen alongside Koji Uehara, Craig Kimbrel and Junichi Tazawa, the relief staff is looking as strong as ever for this upcoming season.