As a powerful reliever at 6’6 and 215 pounds, Carson Smith has overpowered hitters in the Mariners farm system in both levels of A-ball over the last two years. Smith appeared to be ready for the big leagues. His mid-90’s fastball/slider combo is a good fit for a relief role, and if he continues to miss bats, he’ll have a spot in the late innings somewhere.
So far this season though for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainers he has struggled significantly with a 0-2 record, 6.23 E.R.A, and 12 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched. He has given up 19 hits already this season including five walks.
In his first full season back in 2012 with the High Desert Mavericks he performed very well which made him one of the most intriguing prospects in baseball. During that season he went 5-1, 2.90 E.R.A., 1.32 WHIP and 77 strikeouts.
His struggles this season don’t mean to much to the organization, because they know what Smith can bring to the bullpen. The Mariners bullpen has been decent withholding a 3.54 team ERA. The bullpen can still use some help and prospect Carson Smith is arguably the best option for them to call-up to the big leagues at this point.
Originally, Seattle’s plan was based on Stephen Pryor fully recovering from his surgery and be in the majors by now, but he has struggled in Triple-A and was shut down last Tuesday after an MRI revealed shoulder inflammation. (reported by MLB.com)
Smith has the potential to strike out batters consistently and although he doesn’t get the wins, he has taken over as Tacoma’s closer. His bizarre delivery allows him to get great arm action on a mid-90’s fastball and a variety of off-speed pitches with some wicked break to them as well which makes him tough to read at the plate.
If the Mariners want to shake things up for the second half of the season, the Mariners could choose to replace someone like Yoervis Medina with a more high-upside option like Smith.
With his overpowering fastball and mixture of change-ups, Smith will be tough to hit at any level and the quicker he gets his shot at the big stage the better result for the Mariners franchise moving forward.