The honors keep rolling in for the Yankees’ farm system in 2014. The Charleston RiverDogs official home page reports that starting pitcher Caleb Smith has won the South Atlantic Pitcher of the Week Award. He is the first RiverDog pitcher to win the award in 2014.
Smith had the best start of his young career this past Thursday, April 24th. Taking on the Delmarva Shorebirds at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, Smith hurled six innings of shutout ball to set his career high for most innings pitched in a start. He also set his career high for strikeouts in a single game, fanning 13 Shorebirds on the night. The 13 strikeouts are also a RiverDogs record as a member of the Yankees farm system, whom they became affiliated with in 2005. He allowed just three hits and one walks as the RiverDogs went on to win 6-0.
The 6’2” lefty was drafted in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft by the Yankees out of Sam Houston State. Although his record didn’t justify it, Smith had a strong debut season for the Class-A Short Season Staten Island Yankees. As a swingman both starting and coming on in relief, Smith finish 1-2 on the season but had a minuscule 1.89 ERA while striking out 52 batters over just 47.2 innings. He earned one spot start for Double-A Trenton but did not factor into the decision.
Smith is off to a fantastic start of the young 2014 season. He currently sits at 2-1 with a 0.89 ERA over four starts. He has struck out 26 batters over his first 20 innings of the season while only issuing nine walks. While Rookie Davis gets much of the attention in Charleston, Smith has quietly put together back-to-back starts without allowing a run. Hopefully, the success continues and the youngster develops into a top left-handed option for the future Yankees.