Drew Smyly
Drew Smyly from Nationals vs. Braves at Nationals Park, April 6th, 2021 (All-Pro Reels Photography) (51102611335) (cropped).png
Smyly with the Atlanta Braves in 2021
Free agent
Born: (1989-06-13) June 13, 1989 (age 33)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
MLB debut
April 12, 2012, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
(through 2022 season)
Win–loss record53–47
Earned run average4.10
Career highlights and awards

Todd Andrew Smyly (born June 13, 1989), nicknamed "Big Shooter",[1] is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs.

Prior to his professional career, Smyly played college baseball at the University of Arkansas. He competed for the United States national baseball team, winning the silver medal in the 2011 Pan American Games. The Tigers drafted Smyly in the second round of the 2010 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut in 2012. Smyly was a part of the 2021 World Series champions with the Braves.

Early life

Smyly was born in Little Rock, Arkansas,[2] to parents Todd and Toni,[3][4] and grew up in Maumelle, Arkansas.[5] He attended Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, where he established school records for wins (10) and strikeouts (118) in his junior year.[5][6]

College career

Smyly pitching for the Arkansas Razorbacks
Smyly pitching for the Arkansas Razorbacks

Smyly attended the University of Arkansas, where he played college baseball for the Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. In 2008 he did not play, as he had a fractured left elbow into which two screws were inserted.[6][7] As a redshirt freshman in 2009, Smyly came within two outs of pitching the first no-hitter at the NCAA Division I championship tournament in 18 years.[8]

During the summer following his 2009 season, Smyly pitched for the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods League where he played for a brief time under former New York Mets Manager Terry Collins. Serving in the Razorbacks starting rotation in 2010, Smyly was 9–1 with a 2.80 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 103 innings, and was named All-SEC.[9]

Professional career

Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers drafted Smyly in the second round (68th overall) of the 2010 MLB draft.[10] He signed with the Tigers, receiving a $1.1 million signing bonus.[11] Pitching for the Lakeland Tigers of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League and the Erie SeaWolves of the Class AA Eastern League, Smyly was named the Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011, pitching to an 11–6 win–loss record in 22 games (21 starts) with a 2.07 earned run average (ERA) and 130 strikeouts in 126 innings pitched.[12][13] He was also FSL Pitcher of the Week on June 13, and an MiLB.com Tigers Organization All-Star.[1]


Smyly with the Detroit Tigers in 2012
Smyly with the Detroit Tigers in 2012

Heading into the 2012 season, MLB.com ranked Smyly the 82nd-best prospect in baseball,[14] while Baseball America ranked him the third-best prospect in the Tigers organization, behind Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos.[15] The Tigers invited Smyly to spring training in 2012, allowing him to compete for a spot in the Tigers starting rotation.[16] Smyly won the competition, beginning the 2012 season in the starting rotation of the Detroit Tigers, though he made one start with the Toledo Mud Hens of the Class-AAA International League on April 7 prior to being called up for his MLB debut on April 12.[12] On June 14, he was placed on the disabled list (retroactive to June 11) due to a blister on his left hand.[17] Following the Tigers trade deadline acquisition of starter Aníbal Sánchez from the Miami Marlins, Smyly spent much of August and September coming out of the Tigers bullpen.

On the season, he pitched 99+13 innings, compiling a 4–3 record with 94 strikeouts, 33 walks, and a 3.99 ERA.[18] He was named to the Tigers postseason roster.

Smyly was the winning pitcher in Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS against the New York Yankees, pitching the final two innings of the Tigers’ extra-innings win.[19]


Smyly competed with Rick Porcello in spring training for the fifth spot in the Tigers 2013 starting rotation. On March 26, it was announced that Porcello had won the No. 5 starter job, and that Smyly would start the season in the Tiger bullpen.[20] On April 5, Smyly got his first career save after pitching four perfect innings of relief in an 8–3 win over the Yankees. In his first full season as a reliever, Smyly posted a 6–0 record with 2 saves in 63 games with a 2.37 ERA.[18] He led all Tigers relievers and all AL lefty relievers in innings pitched (76) and strikeouts (81).[21]


With the departure of Tigers starter Doug Fister via trade, he was named the No. 5 starter in the Tigers rotation for the 2014 season. Because of off days, he pitched six innings out of the bullpen before making his season debut as a starter on April 18.[22] He pitched seven shutout innings to earn the win in a May 3 game against the Kansas City Royals. This marked his first win as a starter since July 6, 2012, which also came against Kansas City.[23] On July 25, in a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Smyly matched his season high in strikeouts (8) after just three innings, and finished the game with a career-high 11 strikeouts in 5+23 innings.[24]

Tampa Bay Rays

Smyly with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015
Smyly with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015

On July 31, 2014, the Detroit Tigers traded Smyly to the Tampa Bay Rays, along with Willy Adames, in a three-team deal that also sent Austin Jackson to the Seattle Mariners, Nick Franklin from the Mariners to the Rays, and David Price to the Tigers.[25] On September 9, Rays' manager Joe Maddon announced they would shut down Smyly for the remainder of the season, after he had pitched a career-high 153 innings. After being traded to the Rays, Smyly went 3–1 with a 1.70 ERA in seven starts. Opponents hit .155 against him, a figure that led the AL over that span.[26] For the 2014 season he was 9–10 with a 3.24 ERA in 28 games, 25 of which were starts.[18]

In 2015 he was 5–2 with a 3.11 ERA in 12 starts, as he struck out 77 batters in 66+23 innings.[18]

On February 4, 2016, Smyly won his arbitration case against the Rays. He earned $3.75 million in 2016.[27] In 2016 he was 7–12 with a 4.88 ERA in 30 starts in which he pitched 175+13 innings.[1] The 32 home runs he gave up were fifth-most in the American League.[1]

Seattle Mariners

On January 11, 2017, the Rays traded Smyly to the Seattle Mariners for Mallex Smith, Ryan Yarbrough, and Carlos Vargas.[28] Smyly began the season on the disabled list. On June 28, the team announced Smyly would need Tommy John surgery for a torn left elbow ulnar collateral ligament, which he had the following month, ending his season with Seattle without him having started a game.[29]

Chicago Cubs

On December 12, 2017, Smyly signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.[30] During the 2018 season, after recovering from his surgery Smyly made a single appearance in the minor leagues, pitching one inning for the Class A South Bend Cubs, striking out three.

Texas Rangers

Smyly with the Texas Rangers in 2019
Smyly with the Texas Rangers in 2019

On November 2, 2018, the Cubs traded Smyly and a player to be named later to the Texas Rangers in exchange for a player to be named later.[31] He was placed on the disabled list on April 20 with a left arm injury. On June 20, he was designated for assignment.[32] On June 25, he was released by Texas.[33] For the portion of the 2019 season that he pitched for Texas, he was 1–5 with an 8.42 ERA in 13 games, 9 of which were starts, as he struck out 52 batters in 51+13 innings.[18]

Milwaukee Brewers

On July 1, 2019, Smyly signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Starting three games for the AAA San Antonio Missions, he was 1–0 with a 4.97 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 12+23 innings.[2] He elected free agency on July 18.[1]

Philadelphia Phillies

On July 21, 2019, Smyly signed a major league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.[18][34] With the Phillies he was 3–2 with a 4.45 ERA, as in 12 starts, he pitched 62+23 innings and struck out 68 batters; the 32 home runs he gave up for the season between Texas and Philadelphia were the 10th-most in the major leagues.[35]

San Francisco Giants

On January 16, 2020, Smyly signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco Giants.[36] On the shortened season, Smyly pitched in 7 games (5 starts) with a record of 0–1 in 26+13 innings.

Atlanta Braves

On November 16, 2020, Smyly signed a one-year contract worth $11 million with the Atlanta Braves.[37][38] In 2021 he was 11–4 with a 4.48 ERA.[35] The Braves finished with an 88–73 record, clinching the NL East, and eventually won the 2021 World Series, giving the Braves their first title since 1995.[39]

Chicago Cubs (second stint)

On March 19, 2022, Smyly and the Chicago Cubs agreed to a contract worth $4.25 million for the 2022 season.[40][41] Smyly finished the 2022 season with a 7-8 record and a 3.47 ERA in 22 starts for the Cubs. He became a free agent after the season.

International career

After the 2011 season, Smyly pitched for the United States national baseball team in the 2011 Baseball World Cup and the 2011 Pan American Games,[42] winning the silver medal.[43] Smyly also pitched for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.[44]

Pitching style

Smyly throws four pitches. His main pitch is a four-seam fastball at 91 mph, known for the fact that it explodes on the hitter. He adds a curveball at 77 with little depth. He has a cut fastball around 87, which has drawn praise for its late, darting movement into right-handed hitters and away from lefties. Since 2014, he has re-added a changeup in the 83 mph range that he throws almost exclusively to right-handed hitters. He will also mix in a slider (83–85) on occasion.[45]

In 2020,his four-seam averaged nearly 94 mph, at 2249 rpm while his curveball also increased to 80 mph average at 2153 rpm compared to 1950 rpm in 2019. The improvements were due to his longer arm swing, higher glove position off the raised front thigh at windup, and a faster arm speed at release, but also having well-recovered from Tommy John surgery.[46]


Smyly and his wife, Eryn, welcomed their first child, a daughter, in 2017.[47] They reside in Scottsdale, Arizona.[48]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Drew Smyly Stats, Fantasy & News". MLB.com.
  2. ^ a b "Drew Smyly Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  3. ^ "Laid-back Drew Smyly remains consistent in bullpen role". Fox Sports. July 18, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  4. ^ "Detroit Tigers' Drew Smyly makes name for himself with strong spring showing". Booth Newspapers. April 1, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Taylor, Kate (June 2, 2015). "A Pro Baseball Player Teams Up With His Dad to Open a Hometown Franchise". Entrepreneur.
  6. ^ a b "Scouting Reports: Second Round (51-82)". Perfect Game.
  7. ^ "A Late Season Run". Arkansas Razorbacks. November 7, 2014.
  8. ^ Heck, David. "Smyly holds Cubs hitless for seven". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  9. ^ "HOG CALLS Baxendale great as starter and finisher". NWAonline. May 23, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  10. ^ Neiswanger, Robbie. "With Draft Over, Razorbacks Ready For ASU". Arkansas News. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010.
  11. ^ Kornacki, Steve (August 17, 2010). "Tigers sign top three June draft picks Nick Castellanos, Chance Ruffin and Drew Smyly". MLive. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Beck, Jason (April 1, 2012). "Smyly, Marte make Opening Day roster". MLB. Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  13. ^ Iott, Chris (September 14, 2011). "Tigers prospects Nick Castellanos, Drew Smyly earn postseason honors". MLive. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  14. ^ "2012 Prospect Watch | MLB.com: Prospects". MLB. June 19, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  15. ^ Badler, Ben (January 19, 2012). "Prospects: Rankings: Organization Top 10 Prospects: 2012 Detroit Tigers Top 10 Prospects". Baseball America. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  16. ^ Lowe, John (March 22, 2012). "Tigers pitcher Drew Smyly faces major opportunity today". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  17. ^ "Transactions". MLB. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Drew Smyly Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  19. ^ "Tigers 6, Yankees 4". MLB. October 13, 2012. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  20. ^ "Porcello beats out Smyly for Tigers' rotation spot". CBS Sports. March 26, 2013.
  21. ^ ""Durham Bulls 2015 Final Game Notes"" (PDF).
  22. ^ "Pujols belts 497th homer as Angels take down Tigers". CBS Sports. April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  23. ^ "Tigers 9, Royals 2". CBS Sports. May 3, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  24. ^ Beck, Jason (July 26, 2014). "Smyly bends in sixth inning of 11-K effort". MLB. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  25. ^ Beck, Jason (July 31, 2014). "Tigers land biggest Deadline prize in Price". MLB. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  26. ^ Topkin, Marc (September 9, 2014). "Rays shut down Drew Smyly for season". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  27. ^ "Rays' Drew Smyly wins 1st MLB salary arbitration case of year". USA Today. February 4, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  28. ^ Chastain, Bill (January 11, 2017). "Rays trade Smyly for Smith, 2 Minor Leaguers". MLB.com. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  29. ^ Todd, Jeff (June 28, 2017). "Drew Smyly To Undergo Tommy John Surgery". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  30. ^ "Source: Drew Smyly takes $10M, 2-year deal with Cubs". ESPN. December 12, 2017.
  31. ^ "Cubs pick up option on Cole Hamels, trade Drew Smyly to Rangers". ESPN. November 2, 2018. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  32. ^ Adam J. Morris (June 20, 2018). "Kyle Bird, Locke St. John up, Joe Palumbo down, Drew Smyly DFA'd". Lone Star Ball. SB Nation. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  33. ^ "Drew Smyly Transactions". MLB.com. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  34. ^ "Drew Smyly starts for Phillies after finalizing contract". Yahoo Sports. July 21, 2018. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  35. ^ a b "Drew Smyly Stats". Baseball-Reference.com.
  36. ^ "Giants sign lefty Drew Smyly for rotation depth: 'He's in that sweet spot'". SFChronicle.com. January 17, 2020.
  37. ^ Camerato, Jessica (November 16, 2020). "Smyly inks one-year, $11M deal with Braves". MLB.com. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  38. ^ "Atlanta Braves sign lefty Drew Smyly to one-year, $11M deal". ESPN. November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  39. ^ "Atlanta Braves win 2021 World Series". MLB. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  40. ^ "Chicago Cubs, Drew Smyly reach 1-year contract". ESPN.com. March 20, 2022. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  41. ^ Bastian, Jordan (March 19, 2022). "Versatile LHP Smyly inks MLB deal with Cubs". MLB.com. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  42. ^ "Former Razorback Drew Smyly PIcked To Pitch For Team USA". Arkansassports360.com. September 15, 2011. Archived from the original on October 14, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  43. ^ Emrich, Robert (October 26, 2011). "Van Ostrand, Canada take Pan Am gold". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  44. ^ Johns, Greg (March 6, 2017). "Drew Smyly to join Team USA for WBC 2017". MLB.com. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  45. ^ "PITCHf/x Player Card: Drew Smyly". BrooksBaseball.net. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  46. ^ "Bargain pitchers in free agency - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  47. ^ "How the Cubs are helping Drew Smyly fit in even while he's out".
  48. ^ Burns, Gabriel. "Braves sign veteran lefty Drew Smyly to one-year deal". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.