The Giants bullpen was strong this year, but a huge bonus for the team was the return of Will Smith. Smith had Tommy John surgery at the start of 2017 and his return to the roster in 2018 gave the team much needed depth and a reliable left hander they could count on in the late innings.
Smith pitched great to start the season, throwing ten scoreless appearances before allowing his first run. By mid-June his ERA was still below a run at 0.90 and he had become the closer.
Hunter Strickland, who had been the closer, broke his hand after blowing a save on June 18 and by June 22, Smith was given the role.
It was impressive enough that Smith’s numbers were so good, but the fact he was returning from a serious elbow injury makes it all the more incredible.
In 49 innings so far this season, Smith has a 1.84 ERA, with 66 strikeouts and only 13 walks.
Smith was a trade deadline deal in July of 2016 and it was risky even then because he had an extensive injury history at the time. The Giants gave up a popular catcher in Andrew Susac and a former first round pick in Phil Bickford.
It seemed like a steep price at the time, but Smith is finally making the trade look like a win for San Francisco.
His story is an easy one to root for and a great reason to give him consideration for the Willie Mac Award.