Drew Smith made his way back from Tommy John Surgery to make the New York Mets opening day roster. Smith originally would have missed the first half of the season for rehab, but the pandemic allowed him to make his first outings back on the big league level.
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) July 31, 2020
Smith was a forgotten bright spot from the 2018 season. He was the only acquired relief pitcher that actually turned out to have success with the Mets. Smith factored into the bullpen picture for 2019 until TJS ruined any thoughts of that.
Despite making his first professional outing since the surgery at the big league level, Smith faired well. Over his first seven outings, he threw six innings, allowing two runs with six strikeouts and no walks. Smith found plenty of success using his fastball/cutter combination, which netted him plenty of swings and misses.
Sent Down Early
Instead of capitalizing on his success, the Mets optioned him on August 14, and he made one final appearance on August 30. It was a disastrous outing against the New York Yankees where he struggled in the one inning he threw. Smith allowed four hits, three runs, two walks, and one long home run. It was the complete opposite of the pitcher that was with the Mets earlier in the season.
Smith did not get into another game after that to right his stats. He finished the season with a 6.43 ERA, but it did not do justice to how well he pitched. Smith looked like a reinvented pitcher with his newly added cutter. With a fully healthy offseason and spring training, he is a very underrated option for the Mets bullpen in 2021. They would be crazy to waste the potential he showed in 2020.
2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)
4-Seam Fastball: 55 (60), Lost an mph but still throws in the mid-90s, and the ability to use the fastball up in the zone set up the cutter.
Cutter: 80 (75), It had an unreal 63.2% whiff rate in 2020 and a .200 batting average against. While it is very tough to repeat the whiff rate, an xBA of .099 shows its potential.
Curveball: 45 (50), Only threw 13, but it will be a good third pitch in his arsenal.
Changeup: 35 (45), All 11 were thrown to left-handed batters. It still needs work in keeping it down in the zone. When he works at the knees and lower, it has terrific arm action to it.
Command: 70 (70), Always a good strike thrower out of the bullpen.
Overall: 40 (60), Good reason to have high hopes in him for the 2021 season. Just a matter if the Mets allow him to get a shot.