2016 LAD 5th Round Draft Choice Devin Smeltzer

Tim and Christina Smelzer were looking at a picture of their ten year old son, Devin, with Cole Hamels.  But this was not an ordinary picture.  This was a picture of a young boy with no hair due to chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments treating his cancer.  After taking too many trips to the bathroom to urinate, Devin was diagnosed on multiple occasions with a urinary tract infection.  However a father of one of Devin’s teammates, and a friend of the family, was a pediatric urologist and recommended a specialist.  It was in this meeting that Devin was finally properly diagnosed with a grapefruit sized tumor pressing against his bladder, that a biopsy later proved to be cancerous.  The aggressive approach to treating his cancer killed his appetite and Devin dropped to 50 pounds.

After some understandable self-pity, Devin grew wise beyond his 9 years, looked around the hospital and realized that he was going to be okay and was better off than many of the other children surrounding him.  But in order for him to continue to play baseball his absolute passion, Devin had to begin eating.  Even with his frail body, Devin did not miss a season of youth baseball during his year-long treatment sessions.

Devin’s cancer went into remission as it remains today.  The Padres drafted Smeltzer in the 33rd round after high school.  Devin chose instead to attend Florida Gulf Coast University his freshman season.  But Devin never forgot the friends he made at hospital who were not as fortunate as he was and never made it out.  Devin wrote their names on the bill of his cap all through high-school and his freshman season.  Devin decided to attend San Jacinto College for his sophomore year.  When sweat blurred the ink on his cap, Devin memorized their names.  Devin later said that he would scribe their names on the bill of his first Dodger hat.

Matt Hyde was the Northeast Region scout for the NY Yankees and shared a comment that Devin supplied to the question, “what are your goals outside of baseball.”  Devin’s response was “he wanted to give back to the people who helped him through battling cancer.”  That gave Hyde the idea to do a winter fundraiser called “Swing For The Cure.”  Devin and Hyde produce the annual youth baseball event in Syracuse, NY.  Going into the third year, the fundraiser has raised over $80K for multiple non-profit institutions including St Christopher’s, the hospital where Devin was treated.

In June, 2016, 20 year old Devin Smeltzer, a 6’ 3” 195 pound LHP, was the 5th round draft choice of the Dodgers.  His signing was announced June 25, 2016 for an above slot contract of $500K.  He was assigned to the AZL Dodgers.  In 10 games, all in relief, Smeltzer compiled a record of 0-2 and a 7.59 ERA with 6 BB and 12 K in 10.2 IP.

For 2017, Devin was assigned to Great Lakes, full season A Ball in the Midwest League. For the year, Devin has started 9 games and compiled 44.1 IP.  He is 2-2 allowing 35 hits, 12 walks, 51 strikeouts, A WHIP of 1.06, and a 4.06 ERA.  His biggest obstacle right now is the long ball.  He has allowed 6 HR in those 44.1 innings.  I was following his last start on May 26 and was really hoping for a good game to finish this post with.  In 5 innings, Smeltzer was pitching well allowing three hits, three walks, three strikeouts, and one unearned run.  But in the 6th inning, Devin obviously tired and gave up 2 walks, 1 single, a 2 run HR, and a 3 run HR before recording an out.  So it was not the happy ending to his May 26 start that I was hoping for.

Making it to the Show is not an easy journey for anyone, but with what Devin has overcome and achieved in his life, I would not bet against him.


Minor League Report:

OKC lost 11-3 to New Orleans (Marlins) – Justin Masterson did not have one of his better outings this afternoon.  He went 3.2 innings, allowing 3 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.  The one big hit was a three-run HR by lite hitting David Vidal.  Masterson was followed by two uninspired relief appearances by Justin Marks and Layne Somsen.  Joe Broussard finished with two 3 up and 3 down innings.  Offensively Max Muncy (2) and Willie Calhoun (1) provided the Dodgers three hits. Muncy had his 5th double and Calhoun had his 9th.

Tulsa broke a 6 game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over Corpus Christi (Astros) – In his longest outing of the year, Walker Buehler pitched 5 innings allowing 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts.  The lone Corpus Christi run was Jack Mayfield’s 3rd HR. Buehler got his first AA win, and was followed with some outstanding relief from Colt Hynes, Ralston Cash, Edward Paredes, with Shea Spitzbarth closing and for his 1st AA save.  Offensively, the Drillers were led by Edwin Rios’ three hits including his 13th and 14th double, and Kyle Garlick with his league lead tying 11th HR.

RC Quakes suffered a 7-4 loss to the Stockton Ports (A’s) – Yadier Alveraz was roughed up for 6 runs, 9 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts in 4 innings (including 3 batters in the 5th who all scored).  Andrew Istler did pitch a 3 up and 3 down 9th inning.  Offensively, the Quakes were led by Luke Raley (4th triple and 4th HR), and Darrien Tubbs with 2 hits each.  DJ Peters did get his 9th double.

Great Lakes Loons lost a 12 inning 1-0 game to Lansing (Toronto) – Chris Matthewson (3.2 innings), Vinny Santarsiero (2.1 innings), Angel German (3.0 hits), and Sven Schuller 2.2 innings before giving up the walk off single by Bo Bichette.  Oneil Cruz led the Loons with 2 hits including his 2nd double.  Gavin Lux did get his 3rd double.

I was a fan of Bo Bichette before the draft, and was hoping the Dodgers could draft him.  Bichette, a HS SS, was the 2016 2nd round choice of the Blue Jays.  It will be interesting watching the climb of both Lux and Bichette.  Right now, Bichette in his 39 games for Lansing has 156 AB, 58 hits, 18 doubles, 2 triples, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 18 walks, 32 strikeouts, while his batting line is .372/.449/.590/1.039.  I will be watching Bo all the way to the Toronto lineup.

Posted by Always Compete

This article has 47 Comments

  1. Nice article. Taking three from the cubs has to feel good. Puig with two hits. From now on Roberts should not tell Puig if he is starting or not until five minutes before the game.

  2. AC, your posts are great reminders that there are 3000 young guys that are on some team’s top 100 list that have hopes of being one of the 750 players in the major leagues. If they become one of the 750 they will make a minimum of $500,000 a year, fly first class, and stay in the best hotels and if they don’t they will play in small ball parks, ride buses, stay in budget motels, eat at McDonalds, and correct me for I am guessing most will earn between #25,000 to maybe $40,000.
    How many of us have had the stress of a job that pays either $500,000 or $30,000 depending on how well we do it?

    1. Once minor leaguers have reached FA status, they can sign larger contracts. But after 7 years in the minors these players are not going to get 6 figure contracts. If their agents ask for too much, they can be priced out of baseball. Minor League FA are the definition of organizational depth, and can get $10,000 to $16,000 per month (5 month championship season – April thru August). They are also almost always not guaranteed if not on a roster after ST.
      But you are right, they do not get much while under team control. It’s like the “real world” where it’s more often than not that it’s the older and costlier players/employees that are replaced.

  3. Wow AC – your writing is really good.
    Will be keeping an eye out for Devin, and if he makes it, I’m sure many at LADT will have him among their favourites.

    What a great series win against the Cubbies. I’m afraid CK was leaking oil after 3 innings, not because of his total pitch count, but rather the effort expended in 3 long innings of work.
    We have seen it before of course, in the post season. When CK gets tired he makes mistakes.
    Doc needs to take note, and not do a Donnie & let CK decide when he’s coming out.

    1. Watford is not used to good writing, AC.

      You need to tone it down…

      He will come to expect it from me.

    2. Watford

      You know I agree with you, about that.

      And I think it is time for Kershaw to realize, when he doesn’t have it.

      And instead of trying to talk Roberts into leaving him in the game, he should let the pen do their job.

      After all, our bullpen has been nails this year, so there is no reason for Kershaw to stay in a game, when he obviously doesn’t have it.

      Almost any time Kershaw stays in for the next inning, or two, he has been hit this year, and he has been hit hard at times, and he has allowed more runs to score, in these situations.

      Fields came in with runners on second and third yesterday, and I believe there was only one out, and this was only a two run game.

      So Kershaw shouldn’t have been allowed to pitch, another inning.

      Fields was able to come in, and pitch out of that high leverage situation, that Kershaw left for him, and Fields didn’t allow a single run, to score.

      And Kershaw was very lucky Fields was able to come in, and take care of the mess, that Kershaw left for him, to clean up.

      But why put Fields or any of the relievers, in these high leverage situations, when they don’t have to, just to stroke Kershaw’s ego?

      Kershaw needs to think about the team, instead of himself, in these situations, in games.

      And he has to remember what the team did, when he went out last year, too.

      And if there is anyone here that served our country, thank you for your service, it is greatly appreciated!

  4. Very nice Always Compete. It’s always good to read about someone who has beat big C, especially someone young. Go Devin !

  5. Great Article – Devin is officially one on my favs!

    I’d love to see him make the Show.


    – The Los Angeles Dodgers today selected the contract of right-hander Brandon Morrow and placed left-handed pitcher Alex Wood on the 10-day disabled list with left SC joint inflammation (retroactive to May 27).

    Morrow, 32, has posted a 1.74 ERA (2 ER/10.1 IP) in his last 10 appearances at Triple-A Oklahoma City, going 0-2 with three saves since April 27. Overall, Morrow was 0-5 with six saves and a 5.71 ERA with OKC, but most of the damage came in a single outing on April 22 vs. Memphis, when he allowed six runs without recording an out. Morrow, who is in his first year with the Dodger organization, has gone 45-43 with 16 saves and a 4.16 ERA in 254 games (113 starts) in 10 big league seasons, including going 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 18 appearances last year with San Diego.

    Wood, 26, has the longest scoreless streak in the Majors this year at 25.1 innings and has gone 6-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 10 games (eight starts).

    To create room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers transferred right-hander Brock Stewart (right shoulder tendinitis) to the 60-day DL.

      1. I hope Dodgerrick does comment on this. Wood apparently has inflammation of his sternoclavicular joint in his left shoulder. Dodgerrick could probably add some good insight as to what this might mean both in the short term and long term prognosis.

    1. I was a vocal proponent for Brandon Morrow to make the 25 man out of ST. I think he has a big upside as a middle reliever to come in the 6th or 7th inning. The Dodgers have RHRP Fields and Baez for the more high leverage situations. Could this be an audition for the Sergio Romo spot? I hate jinxing Chris H****** by spelling his name out loud, because every time I think a light has turned on, he turns and gives up that critical HR to drive a stake in my heart. Yes I silently root for him. It’s like having the Bangles Manic Monday on my iPhone…something you just do not want to admit to.

      1. AC

        Did you see Wood get interviewed today, on the Dodger pregame show?

        I was watching the show, while riding my stationary bike, but I couldn’t hear him well.

  7. Morrow is VEEEEEERY HITTABLE. Interesting call up. I hope he doesn’t start a game. Maybe he can take Hatcher’s place in throwing meaningless innings. Unbelievable that another pitcher goes down. The way Kershaw pitched yesterday, I am wondering if he is ok. Here we go again.

    1. I was listening to MLB this morning and someone asked what was wrong with Clayton. The host said “Why doesn’t anyone ask what is wrong with Lester… Kershaw pitched a lot better than him.” He went on to say that there was nothing wrong with Clayton – we just expect him to be perfect every time.

  8. Morrow? Really? He’s been lit up like crazy at AAA. How about Sierra or one of the starters. Surely, Oaks could bring in his sinker from the pen. I’m sure they’re trying to get Dayton straightened out before recalling him.

    1. Probably because Morrow has been effective at the ML level. He was lit up worse last year in the Padres minor league system, but when he came up he pitched very well in 16 innings/18 games with a 1.69 ERA. He is not going to be a high leverage reliever. Most would agree that Oaks is a better pitcher, but are Oaks and the Dodgers better served with Oaks starting every 5th game at OKC or mopping up in LA?
      I like to look for silver linings. Bringing up Morrow rather than Masterson/Jurrjens/Oaks may indicate that Wood’s inflamed SC joint is not as severe as it may sound. I am also wondering whether Morrow had an opt out of his minor league contract if not called up before June 1 (not unusual at all). See what he can do at the ML level before he leaves. I still think this may be an audition for Sergio Romo’s spot.

      1. As an update, Brandon Morrow did have a June 1 opt out date. Might as well see what he can do before you lose him.

        1. AC

          You are giving Mark more then a run for his money, but I think Mark appreciates it, especially after partying, all day yesterday.

    2. Hawkeye

      That is what I was thinking.

      Why does it always have to be one of these washed out veterans, instead of one of our young prospects?

      I understand AC about the contract thing, but it does seem like it is one of these veteran pitchers, most of the time.

      It would be a good way to get one of our young prospects feet wet, at the major league

      Like someone like Haw

      1. IMO, it would not have mattered if Wood or anyone went on the DL, Morrow was going to get the call before June 1, just to see what might happen. If he pitches like he did in SD last year it’s a good call. If not, he gets DFA’d and we move on.
        What other choice are you looking for? If it were not for the opt out clause, I may have called up Joe Broussard. But he is 26, so not a kid. The other two reliable relievers are Layne Somsen who is 27 and Madison Younginer is 26. Josh Ravin has given up 5 earned runs in his last 2.1 innings. I think there is a current lack of confidence in Jacob Rhame. It would be a waste to bring up Oaks in a mop up situation. Other than Oaks what young prospect are you going to call up? Besides, how can you complain about what Morrow did today? 97/98/99 MPH fastballs to De Jong? Balls were hit harder against Romo and Hatcher. He pitched a great 9th. Will he do it again? That will be the test.

  9. SC joint injuries are very rare. In 30 years of practicing law involving work injuries, I’ve never seen one. Here is the best description of the injury, courtesy of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:

    “Injuries to the SC joint typically result from motor vehicle accidents or participation in collision sports like football. While these injuries can be painful, most are relatively minor and will heal well without surgery. Very rarely, a hard blow to the SC joint can damage the vital organs and tissues that lie nearby. When this occurs, it is a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention. The SC joint can also be damaged over time, as the protective tissue that covers the ends of the bones gradually wears away. This type of degenerative change in the joint can lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced motion in the shoulder and arm.”

    “The most common symptom of an SC joint disorder is pain in the area where the clavicle meets the sternum. This pain will be present with a sprain but will be much sharper in the case of a fracture or dislocation—especially when you attempt to move your arm.

    Other signs and symptoms may include:

    Swelling, bruising, or tenderness over the joint
    A crunching or grinding sound when you try to move your arm
    Limited range of motion in the arm
    With an inflammatory condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, you may have simultaneous pain in other joints in your body
    With a joint infection, there may be redness over the joint and you may have fever, chills, or night sweats. If you experience any of the symptoms of a joint infection, it is important to seek medical attention right away.”

    There is a suggestion that because of the location of the joint that there may be a relationship between this injury and thorasic outlet syndrome. In any event the injury is usually treated non-surgically although the removal of the distal end of the clavicle is sometime necessary.

    Really too bad. If he really has this it could be a big deal – or not if they catch it early. If it is degenerative, it is likely to pop up again. If it is traumatic, it’s hard to see how that could have happened.

    1. Thanks Rick. I knew you would have some good insight on this injury. I hope it is not a pre-cursor to thoracic outlet syndrome, because that would finish his year. Think positive thoughts.

  10. I think AC hit it on the head: Morrow is auditioning for Romo’s spot as a veteran set up guy. For the moment though it could leave the bullpen short in high leverage situations.

    SC joint strains if not serious require rest, probably just precautionary, may miss a start or two. It is an insane luxury to have 7 healthy major league arms for 5 spots in the rotation, no reason to push anyone to ‘pitch through’ minor injuries that could become more serious. I read somewhere Kazmir is up to 92 in Glendale? Get ready for 8 arms plus what’s in OKC.

    Yesterday’s ‘Sunday Lineup’ really came through…Roberts seems to know what he’s doing,

    I know some Cubs fans and they are taking all of this very hard. It is a great time to be a Dodger Fan!

  11. Hill is pitching much better today. Utley and Puig make the bottom of the lineup work, Utley goes yard, Seager has a 2 out hit to drive in Puig and draw first blood!

    I saw a tweet on True Blue LA that Roberts said Wood’s injury would be ‘a one start thing’

  12. Just read about Bellinger being fastest Dodger ever to 10 HR’s (by 15 games) and now he hits #11?! He is homering every 10.54 AB which is over 50 for 600 AB, which is not likely but yikes!

    Baez pitched a scoreless 6th inning but seemed to take about 20 minutes!

  13. According to Orel, Morrow has pitched well, except for a couple of bad outings. He’s experienced and the fact is, he looked good today. Romo should be looking over his shoulder.

    1. Actually Mark he should be bending over and looking between his legs for that swift kick he deserves.

    1. I used to get castigated (at a former site) for having the gall to say that Kershaw would go down in history as the best Dodger pitcher ever. Yes, and for saying that Adrian Beltre was a HOF third-baseman.

      I hope Jose does well, except when he is pitching against us.

  14. Big game for OKC today, 11-1 winners over New Orleans (Marlins). Trevor Oaks went 7 innings, allowing no runs on two hits, no walks, and 7 strikeouts…plus a three run HR. Grant Dayton is still trying to find his 2016 magic. In his one inning, Grant allowed one run on 2 hits, no walks and 3 strikeouts. Jacob Rhame mopped up with 1 inning, allowing no runs, 1 hit, no walks and 2 strikeouts. Other offensive stars were Alex Verdugo who had three hits and 5 RBI’s, including a double and his 1st 2017 HR. Willie Calhoun had 2 hits including his 10th HR. Drew Maggi had another 3 hit game upping his BA to .390.
    RC Quakes found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory over the Stockton Ports (A’s). Adam Bray pitched a solid 5 innings allowing 1 unearned run on 5 hits, 1 walk and 7 strikeouts. Michael Boyle made his 2017 debut and pitched 3.1 innings before allowing a double, and then after getting the 2nd out in the 9th with a 3-1 lead gave up a run scoring single. Alex Hermeling came in and issued a walk moving a runner into scoring position, and then gave up the single to tie the game at 3-3. The teams went scoreless until the 12th when Chris Powell gave up five runs to account for the final score of 8-3 in favor of the Ports. Offensively Luke Raley had 2 hits including his 5th HR, and Zach McKinstry also had two hits. Ibandel Isabel hit his 11th HR. This is one of those games that will sting for a while.
    Great Lakes were 5-3 winners over Lansing (Toronto) – Jordan Sheffield started and pitched 1.2 innings and 45 pitches. He allowed 1 run on 1 hit, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. Nolan Long followed with a good 3.1 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits, no walks and 3 strikeouts. Christian Stolo finished the final 4 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts, and got the win. Steve Berman had three hits, while Keibert Ruiz, Gersel Pitre, and Erick Mejia added two each. Mejia hit his 1st HR of the year.
    Bo Bichette had two more hits today for Lansing, and with Vlad Guerrero Jr, the Blue Jays have the nucleus of a good young farm. While I am obviously an unapologetic Dodgers fan, I still like to follow good minor leaguers from other teams.

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