From disappointing injury to lights out closer, Will Smith has emerged as one of the most dominant relievers in baseball for the San Francisco Giants.
The San Francisco Giants acquired reliever Will Smith from the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2016 trade deadline in exchange for young catcher Andrew Susac and highly regarded pitching prospect Phil Bickford.
It was a steep price to pay at the time.
Then again, the Giants bullpen was in disarray, and Smith was a controllable left-hander with swing-and-miss stuff who had posted a 3.68 ERA and 9.0 K/9 in 27 appearances prior to the trade.
He posted a 2.95 ERA and 12.8 K/9 with 11 holds in 26 games following the trade to help bring some stability to the relief corps, but the Giants were ousted from the postseason in the NLDS.
The following March, he underwent Tommy John surgery and then missed the entire 2017 season as a result.
He returned in May 2018 and logged a 2.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 12.1 K/9 with 14 saves and six holds in 54 games, showing no ill-effects of the time missed.
The 30-year-old stepped into the closer’s role on a full-time basis this year and continued to impress with 30 saves in 34 chances to go along with a 2.70 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 12.7 K/9 in 55 appearances.
He was virtually untouchable in the first half, converting all 23 saves chances with a 1.98 ERA and 0.80 WHIP with a 53-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 36.1 innings to earn a trip to the All-Star Game.
Despite a more hittable second-half performance, he’s still headed for a hefty payday this winter.
The southpaw was a hot commodity at the trade deadline, but a surging San Francisco Giants team chose to keep him. Now he’ll hit the open market as one of the top relief arms on the market.
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