DUNEDIN, Fla.- Evan Smith knows that improving his pitching is all in his delivery.
Now, it’s time to execute on the mound.
He was on the top-30 prospect list for the Jays in 2015 but fell off the list in 2016 after a poor season that saw his speed go down.
Last season, Smith had 27 strikeouts with 18 walks in 49.2 innings. In 2014 he struck out 47 batters and walked 15 in 52 innings on the mound.
The 20-year-old is hoping that wrapping his hips into his pitch will improve his velocity and help him get back to where he was two years ago.
“This year I’m trying to stay back more and load with my hip more, so hopefully that will increase my velocity,” said Smith.
“So what happened last year, my velocity just went down. Hopefully that will keep it from dropping, maybe that will add a little to this years.”
The left-handed pitcher had a 3.46 ERA in 2014 that jumped up to a 4.71 ERA last year. Opponent’s batting averages also went up to .307 from .253 in 2014.
Smith also talked about the veteran presence at spring training and the importance of talking to them.
“I mean, really, in spring training there is a bunch of older guys. Like the triple-A guys are here (and) any of them to talk to is great to get advice from anytime you can,” he said.
Even through all Smith’s struggles, he did not feel the need to bring in more pitches to try and change things up, which makes things hard when you are known to be mostly a three-pitch pitcher.
“I try to use my change up more but stick to my sinker, slider, fastball,” he said.
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