Dunedin, Fla. – Matt Smoral has lofty expectations but he also knows that staying grounded is the best path to the major leagues.
The 6’8” left-handed pitcher has received comparisons to both five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson by various scouts and two-time World Series champion Madison Bumgarner.
Still, the Toronto Blue Jays prospect is more focused on fulfilling his potential than any comparisons to baseball greats.
“It’s great to be in the conversation with those guys,” the 19-year-old said at the Bobby Mattick Training Centre after his workout.
“But I just want to go out and be the best Matt Smoral I can be and know my game, then go out and execute.”
Dreaming about the major leagues is something that is on every prospect’s radar, but the 2012 first-round pick understands that looking too far ahead should not be his goal.
“I learned last year that all I can focus on is each and every day,” said Smoral.
“Going into this year, I’m just focused on being the best I can be every time I take the mound, so everything will play itself out and we will see what happens.”
Though in baseball anything can happen and you never know when you might get the call.
Sean Nolin, who happens to be another tall left-handed pitcher and is competing to be Toronto’s fifth starter this season, played in Single A Dunedin in 2012, and by 2013 was pitching in the majors for the Blue Jays.
If things go well for Smoral in the next couple years, he could potentially be in the same situation.
“It just goes back to knowing your routine and knowing what you need to do to be prepared,” said Smoral. “So if you get called up, or when you do, then you are prepared and you know exactly what you need to do to go out there and just execute your pitches.”
The native of Solon, Ohio is an overall fan of the game, and even though he was not an avid Cleveland Indians fan, he still had season’s tickets growing up where he got to see a lot of former players like current New York Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia
“Sabathia is a guy I enjoyed watching,” said Smoral. “I like the way he gets over and works down and gets that angle on hitters, and of course, he’s another tall lefty.”