Carson Smith Could Be Biggest Sox 'Pick-Up' Of 2017
Red Sox relief pitcher Carson Smith was activated off the 60-day disabled list yesterday. Big deal, you could say. Well, it just might be. The 27-year old right-hander went down for the year early in 2016—pitching just 2.2 innings for The Carmine Hose. A 'forearm strain' led to Tommy John surgery in May and that was that. The hopes of a formidable lock-down bullpen (Smith, Koji Uehara, Craig Kimbrel) failed to materialize. In the flurry of speculation about the 2017 season, very few observers are talking about the return of Smith—whose devastating slider is one of the best in baseball. By mid-season (or possibly earlier) Smith should be solidly in the bullpen mix. He will likely also join Robbie Ross Jr., Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Brad Ziegler and Kimbrel. Not a bad crew. So far in his career, Smith has tossed just 81 innings—but his numbers are ridiculous: 2.00 ERA, 104 Ks, 0.970 WHIP. If he can just approximate those stats, he will be a huge 'pick-up' for Boston in 2017.