- 9) Matthew Smoral – 1st Round Supplemental, 50th overall – LHP – 7/25/1994 – 6’8″ 225 lbs.
Matthew Smoral was expected to go somewhere in the middle of the 1st Round in 2012 before a second stress fracture in his foot required Smoral to undergo season-ending surgery. The Blue Jays were not scared off by the prospect of career-long foot troubles for a big-bodied pitcher and selected him with the 50th overall pick in the supplemental first round. Smoral sports a fastball that sits in the 89-93 mph range and touches as high as 94 mph with good movement. He throws a hard slider in the 81-84 mph range which is considered his out-pitch. He also throws a changeup around the same speed but the pitch lags behind his other offerings.
In an article on MaxPreps.com, Jarrod Ulrey recapped Smoral’s high school career prior to his draft year in 2012:
In early March of his sophomore season at Solon, Matt fractured the same fourth metatarsal on his right foot but elected to rehab the injury and not have surgery.
Last spring for the Comets, he went 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings pitched. Matt pitched Solon to an 8-3 win over Hudson in a Division I district semifinal but did not pitch the next day when Medina beat the Comets 11-10 for a district title.
Last summer, he helped the Midland Redskins capture their third-consecutive Connie Mack World Series championship in Farmington, N.M.
After pitching for the Redskins on Aug. 12, Matt traveled to San Diego to participate in the Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings that was held Aug. 14 in Petco Park. He retired the only batter he faced during the game, which has been a prime spot for college and pro recruits since its inception in 2003.
When Smoral suffered his second stress fracture while bending over in a non-baseball setting (a day after a March 26th game in Myrtle Beach), he decided against rehabbing the injury and elected for surgery that should prevent future reoccurrences. The injury ended his Senior year at Solon H.S. with a recovery time of 12 weeks. After his signing with the Jays, he would be assigned to the Lansing Lugnuts 7-day disabled list though he would not see any official game action in 2012.
He did make a start in the Instructional League on October 5th but information on the start is unavailable. He reported that he “felt good and it went great” so there should be no reason he doesn’t report to Spring Training in 2013 ready to begin his journey through the Blue Jays’ ranks.
2013: Look for him to spend 2013 with a short-season team following Extended Spring Training. He will likely spend the year with either Bluefield or Vancouver with the possibility of a cup of coffee with Lansing as the season wanes.
Potential Impact: Smoral is still growing into his 6’8″ body will hopefully find the consistent control/command that has eluded him thus far. When he is on, his stuff can be dominating. His ceiling is a top-of-the-rotation starter but it will take him a number of years to reach it.
Pre-Draft Reports courtesy of Crawfish Boxes’ Subber10:
Matthew Smoral is a 2012 LHP with a 6-8 225 lb. frame from Solon, OH who attends Solon HS. XX Tall build, wide hips, narrow upper half with lots of room to grow, young body. Tall balanced delivery, low effort, very loose and free arm, clean arm circle, 3/4’s arm slot, occasionally falls off on release, throws from the 3B side of the rubber and loses angle to his pitches, especially to left handed hitters. 90-93 mph fastball, touched 94, flashes hard boring life at times, good sink at others. Curveball has hard plus spin when thrown hard, will let up on curveball at times, rare change up. Better command of pitches to right handed hitters, tends to pitch passively to left handed hitters. Very high ceiling talent, has all the tools. Good student, verbal commitment to North Carolina. Named to the Perfect Game All American Classic team.
Smoral made just three outings this spring before his season ended due to a stress fracture in his right (and thus landing) foot that occurred when he was pitching on a makeshift mound in a game played on a football field in March. Before that, Smoral had pitched like a potential top-10 overall pick, touching 95, sitting 89-93 with plus life and a hard out-pitch slider, even showing the ability to pitch to his glove side with the fastball.
Smoral has an imposing presence on the mound, standing 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds. His height along with his low three-quarter arm slot from the left side makes him tough to pick up. His stuff doesn’t make it any easier for hitters. Smoral throws a fastball in the 89-92 mph range and tops out at 94. Smoral also throws a slider in the 81-84 mph range and a changeup with similar velocity. His low arm slot causes him to sometimes get around his slider, but when he stays on top of it, it’s a tight pitch with late break. Like many big pitchers, Smoral is still growing into his frame and learning how to control his delivery. He currently lands a little open and a little stiff, sometimes stumbling off the mound in his follow through. This causes his control to come and go, but when he’s on, his stuff is dominating. Smoral has the athleticism to smooth things out. His father, Steve, was a basketball player at North Carolina State, but Matt is committed to North Carolina.