Acquired: Drafted in the 4th Round of 2011 Amateur Draft
From: Lake Worth, FL
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Kyle Smith was one of my favorite picks last from last June's Amateur Draft. Smith is extremely polished for your typical high school starter and it is my belief that if not for his height he would have been selected much earlier in the 2011 draft. With the 126th pick of the draft the Royals selected Smith and signed him for $695K, nearly tripling the suggested slot for the pick.
In high school Smith baffled Florida hitters with a mid 90s heater, sharp curve ball, and an effective change up. He displays fantastic command and his change is well advanced for a pitcher his age. In his senior year at Santaluces High School Smith cruised to a 0.40 ERA in 69 innings pitched. In those 69 innings Smith allowed 46 hits and 14 walks, while striking out 116.
Just for emphasis that translates to 15.1 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 or a K:BB of 8.2. I should also mention that of those 46 hits allowed only 4 went for extra bases. Also of note, is that these numbers weren't posted in an area of the country not known for great baseball talent. Smith was playing in Florida, which thanks to that Florida sun enables players to play year round resulting in a quality level of competition.
Kyle Smith has drawn comparisons to Tim Hudson thanks primarily to his frame, but a Tim Hudson kind of ceiling may be pretty accurate for the young starter. I don't want to get to worked up about a pitcher that hasn't made a professional appearance yet, but I can't hardly help it with Kyle Smith. I expect him to spend 2012 in extended Spring Training and then as the weather heats up in the Midwest League, Smith should find himself in Kane County.