The Cubs added to the Major League pitching staff on the last day of the Winter Meetings. The Cubs acquired LHP Caleb Smith from the Brewers for cash considerations. The Brewers selected Smith with the seventh overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft and dealt him to the Cubs.
The Cubs must keep Smith on the active, 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the Yankees once he clears waivers. All Rule 5 Draft rules apply, even with the Cubs adding Smith with a trade from the Brewers.
Caleb Smith gives the Cubs another young arm in the pen but with limited spots on the projected 25-man roster, many think Smith will have a hard time making the club out of Spring Training. Smith is a lefty that has actually been more effective against right-handed hitters. Joe Maddon loves relievers with reverse splits but he will have to be at the top of his game during his first spring in Arizona.
According to Jim Callis, Smith features a low-90s fastball with a changeup that makes him more effective against righties than lefties. Baseball America called his change a solid-average pitch and labeled him as a pitchability lefty.
Smith has pitched in only one game above the Double-A level. He has been used as a starter and a reliever, which should help his cause to make the roster.
The Yankees selected Smith in the 14th round of the 2013 draft. Smith is 25 years old, turns 26 on July 28 and is 6-foot-2, 205 pounds.
Caleb Smith spent last season with Double-A Trenton. Smith was 3-5 with a 3.96 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Smith allowed 34 runs, 28 earned, on 66 hits with 20 walks and 70 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings. Of the 27 appearances Smith made last season, seven were as a starter.
Left-handers had a .836 OPS against Smith with a .297/.353/.484 slash line. Smith limited right-handers to a .669 OPS and they hit .247/.314/.354 against him.
Smith was a little more effective as a reliever than as a starter. Smith was 1-2 in 20 games out of the pen with a 3.53 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Smith allowed 17 runs, 14 earned, on 36 hits with 11 walks and 39 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings.
In the seven starts, Smith was 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. Smith allowed 17 runs, 14 earned, on 30 hits with nine walks and 31 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Teams hit .259/.318/.403 with a .721 OPS against Smith when he entered games from the pen. Opponents batted .273/.341/.400 with a .741 OPS in the seven games he started.
“Caleb was a guy we settled on and are excited about,” Jed Hoyer said to the Tribune. “We’ve had some success with Rule 5 guys. Hector [Rondon] was a huge part of what we did. We felt good enough to move forward and select Smith.”