Drew Smyly was one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season before getting cut loose by the Texas Rangers a few days ago. Smyly signed a two-year deal with the Cubs prior to the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, missing all of last season before getting traded to Texas for a player to be named during the most recent winter. He returned to active duty this year but lasted only nine starts and 13 total outings with the Rangers, accumulating 51.1 innings with an 8.42 ERA before Texas released him. It didn’t take long for Smyly to find a new gig, however, as the Milwaukee Brewers announced this afternoon that he has joined the organization on a minor league pact:
Player move: LHP Drew Smyly has been signed to a minor league contract.— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) July 1, 2019
The 30 year old southpaw has previously enjoyed success at the big league level, posting sub-4.00 ERAs for the Tigers and Rays during his first four seasons from 2012-15. Smyly returned to the mound after his surgery with similar stuff as he had previously — a four-seam fastball that is averaging 90.9 MPH to go along with a cutter, changeup, and curveball — but his command has yet to return to pre-surgery levels. Smyly issued 34 free passes during his time with the Rangers for 5.96 BB/9, and when he has been in the strike zone, he has gotten hit hard. Opposing batters have made hard contact at a whopping 50.6% rate against Smyly this year and he’s coughed up 19 long balls, for a rate of 3.33 HR/9.
Smyly will most likely begin his time with the franchise by suiting up for the Triple-A San Antonio Missions. Assuming he can get back on track there, it’s exceedingly likely that he’ll receive an opportunity to make some second-half starts for the big league Milwaukee Nine. Only two teams on the Senior Circuit — the Rockies (5.45 ERA) and Giants (5.11 ERA) — have received worse production from their starting pitchers, who own a collective 4.91 ERA while working the fewest innings per game of among any NL team.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs