There doesn’t seem to be a player who is deeper under the radar on the Boston Red Sox than Carson Smith. If Boston wants to take command of the AL East this year, the bullpen is going to have to take people by surprise. Smith may not be the biggest stand out in the arsenal. But the potential support he could give to this pitching staff may be a huge difference maker for a contending team.
Injury & Statistics
If you haven’t heard of Carson Smith, you can probably thank Dr. Andrews for that. Carson underwent Tommy John last season before even being able to touch a ball in the regular season. Going under the knife took Smith out all the way into the late portion of the season, only allowing him to appear in eight games. Was it worth it? Carson came back with a healthy possibly stronger arm than before and he sure showed it.
With those eight games, Smith put up an ERA of 1.35. In those 6.2 innings of work, Boston saw the arm they’d been craving all season. The craving which led to the impulse signing of Addison Reed. What may be even more exciting is the numbers Smith was able to put up in the only full season of work under his belt in 2015. Even a little of this in the middle of the bullpen could create real problems for other teams in the American League. Especially when it leads to the flame-throwing, rocket arm of Craig Kimbrel.
Watching this guy pitch is a whole different story. Smith only needs three unique pitches to send opposing hitters back to the pine. A slider that could easily be mistaken for Chris Sales. A sinker with opposite movement of the slider that can not only create plays for the infield, but also dials up the radar to high 90’s. Then to mix it all up, a frozen change up. Smith’s lengthy stature and unique arm release is something not many pitchers have and not many batters see.
With the potential return this season of Tyler Thornburg and improving support of players like Joe Kelly, the Red Sox may have enough backups for the rotation to feel comfortable. A game started off by Chris Sale and closed off by Craig Kimbrel needs a bit of insurance. This is where Carson Smith can and will make his impact this season.