Nate Smith Set to Have Role with LA Angels next season
By Vincent Page
With the LA Angels rosters expanding and prospects being given a shot at the big leagues in the closing weeks of the 2016 season, expect the Angels to give opportunities to a handful of prospects. Nate Smith was set to be a part of this until he felt soreness in his elbow that forced him out of Saturday’s start early.
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Nate Smith, 25, is currently rated as the LA Angels’ fifth-best prospect, and has been enjoying success with Triple-A Salt Lake Bees as of late. On the year, he has posted a 8-9 record, 4.61 ERA, and striking out 122 batters while walking 44. However, over his last four full starts, he had posted a 2.49 ERA with 21 strikeouts and 6 walks. But as is goes for Angels’ pitchers everywhere, he was removed from his start on Saturday with soreness in his elbow. Assuming the worst has become a natural instinct for Halo fans when it comes to arm injuries, but there has not been any reason to worry yet. The Angels’ staff has decided to be careful with Smith though, as he is one of the more promising prospects in the Angels’ system.
The Angels were hoping to see what they have in Smith, and if he will be able to perform well enough in the majors to earn a spot in the rotation or bullpen next year. The Angels know better than anyone that you can never have too many starting pitchers, and Smith seems to be a pretty good insurance option next year. However, they have decided not risk Smith’s health as they have chosen to shut him down for the season.
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The high point of the season for Smith was most likely pitching in the MLB Futures Game. However, his one inning of work did not go too well, as he threw 15 pitches (ten for strikes), but gave up four hits, and allowed two runs. Smith did however strike out #1 prospect Yoan Moncada who debuted for the Red Sox recently.
While it has been a season of ups and downs for Smith, especially with this latest news. However, all is not lost for Smith. If he is able to pitch well for the big-league club in Spring Training in 2017 he will most likely see time next year as a fifth starter or middle reliever capable of throwing as many innings as needed. Either way, his time in the big leagues is coming, and the Angels sure could use his help.