#17 Will Smith
Acquired: Via trade with Sean O'Sullivan from LAA for Alberto Callaspo
From: Newnan, GA
On July 19, 2011, Will Smith and Kelvin Herrera combined for the first and only no hitter in Northwest Arkansas Naturals history. It was around this point that Will Smith turned his season around. In the month of August, Smith posted a 4-1 record with a 1.91 ERA and a 37:9 K:BB in 42 innings pitched.
A couple of things changed for Smith over the course of the summer. First, the Royals allowed him to start throwing a slider. The slider isn't a plus pitch by any means, but it has granted Smith a much needed weapon against right handed hitters (34 of his 45 walks came against righties, although he did induce ground balls at a much higher clip against them). In addition to the slider, Smith also received a tick up in fastball velocity as the summer progressed.
His fastball which normally has sat in the high 80s, now has crossed the 90 mph threshold and has been clocked as high as 94. He is said to have just average command, but he was able to limit opponents to just 2.51 BB/9, which compares favorably to the league average mark of 3.40.
Smith has the upside of a #4 starter, but could also fit in a spot starter/long reliever role in the Majors. He'll start 2012 in Omaha's rotation.
Picture taken from Milb.com