Will Smith was acquired from the Royals in the offseason of 2013-2014 in exchange for Nori Aoki. He had a solid first season with the Brewers, but the cumulative numbers hide a drastic swing within the season. There's a lot of hope for this 25 year-old lefty, but his season requires a bit more unpacking.
In April and May, Smith allowed 1 earned run in 25.1 innings and struck out 36 of the 107 batters he faced. He was dominant and a huge part of the hot start of the Brewer bullpen and the Brewers in general. As the year went on, he worked less situationally and was slotted in as the main "8th inning guy", and his effectiveness plummeted. He allowed a .365 wOBA in June and then a disastrous .495 wOBA in July, and then finished out the year somewhere toward the middle of those two extremes.
There's a lot to ponder about Smith's workload and role over the course of the year. It's tough to get a great read on fatigue because being overworked may manifest itself in many ways, but it is worth noting that there was not a noticeable trend toward decreased velocity or increased walks over the course of the year.
I'm not ready to write off Smith as a superloogy just yet, but it does not take much analysis to determine that Smith shouldn't be the guy you trot out there every single time with a 1 to 3 run lead in the 8th inning. He faced 180 right-handed batters this year and allowed a .295/.391/.481 line. Against 108 lefties he allowed .167/.245/.271. The Brewers would be much better served going forward by playing matchups with the late-inning relief crew and giving Smith the best chance to succeed. And if he can bring back and develop the changeup that he used back in his days when he was starting with the Royals to deploy as a weapon against righties, that would be a huge bonus.
Take your pick of April and May, but on April 13th Smith came on after 8 and 2/3 innings from Kyle Lohse struck out the only batter he faced to earn a save and get the Brewers their 9th consecutive win.
Smith has another year under Brewer control pre-arbitration, so the Brewers will owe him something near $500,000. Then they will control his rights for 3 additional years. Let's hope the Brewers don't trade him to the Marlins.