You can never have enough pitching. And the New York Yankees have proven over time that they will sign anyone from anywhere if they think they can help their organization.
The Washington Wild Things’ Chris Smith of the Independent Frontier League has had his contract purchased by the New York Yankees. The Observer-Reporter wrote that Smith will report to Yankees spring training in Florida in March.
Smith had a monster year for the Wild Things. He led the team in innings pitched with 129, wins (nine), strikeouts (116), tied for the lead in games started with 19, and posted the second-lowest ERA among starters at 2.92. Not too shabby for someone with 14 professional starts up until this year.
According to the Wild Things' press release, Smith is honing his skills in the Australian Baseball League. In nine starts he is 3-3 with a 2.31 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 51 innings to go with a WHIP of 0.85.
Wild Things assistant GM Steve Zavacky, who spoke to The Observer-Reporter, said Smith has the tools to make it to the majors;
“Chris was a valuable part of our starting rotation and will be missed, but I wish him all the best in the Yankees’ system. He has the skills that it takes to make it to the majors and I look forward to watching him develop,” Wild Things assistant GM Steve Zavacky said.
Who knows how far Smith will make it, but again, this shows that if you have talent, evaluators will take notice. And for the Independent Leagues, this is more validation of their legitimacy and the calibre of ballplayers that make up those teams.
Devon is a manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario, Canada, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow the GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.