Smith’s changeup is the third pitch in his repertoire. It’s essentially a league-average changeup in terms of SwStr% and chase rate, but Smith could improve the results against it if he threw it lower in the zone. By lowering its location, he could improve the effectiveness of his worst pitch, his fastball.
Smith’s fastball lost 1.5 mph from 2018 to 2019. While the fastball’s pitch value improved, it was still not a very good pitch for Smith. He allowed 20 home runs in 2019 off the pitch, and his luck was favorable, allowing a BABIP of just .213. Smith increased the arm-side run of the pitch, which could improve his strikeout rate, but should decrease the fastball’s usage to under 50%.
The slider was Smith’s primary strikeout pitch in 2019, but the whiff rate against the pitch dropped by 6% from 2018 to 2019. The drop in strikeout rate may be related to a decrease in vertical drop and increase in velocity. However, with a zone rate of over 40%, Smith could increase its usage as a second option for called strikes.
The lefty’s four-seamer sits at an average of 95 mph and shows standard chase and swinging-strike rates—though the latter mark of 8.4% doesn’t quite support the 25.4 strikeout percentage that marks it as a swing-and-miss fastball. Hitters also got him for a .234 ISO on it.
Smith made himself interesting to fantasy owners in large part through his effective slider, as the pitch went from a -2.1 pVal in 2017 to 6.3 last year. While it falls short of a true money offering, it’s no slouch as a put-away pitch.
Though it gets slightly more vertical action than average, Smith’s change doesn’t look like much via the movement numbers. Still, it sits roughly nine mph slower than his fastball and carries enough deception to make it serviceable.