The numbers (with Phillies)
12 G, 3-2 W-L, 4.45 ERA, 25.9 K%, 8.0 BB%, 0.6 fWAR
Smyly began 2019 with the Texas Rangers after missing two consecutive seasons thanks to a torn ulnar collateral ligament. His comeback didn’t start off well, and after putting up an 8.42 ERA in 13 games, the Rangers released him in mid-July.
The Phillies quickly signed the lefty, and there was brief hope that they had uncovered a diamond in the rough. His first two starts were impressive enough to prompt comparisons to Cliff Lee.
Here’s why I think Drew Smyly and Cliff Lee might be the same guy— Did the Phillies lose? (@DidthePhilslose) July 31, 2019
-they look alike
-both born and raised in Arkansas
-both played at University of Arkansas
-both lefties with fastballs that top out at in the low 90s
-never been seen in the same place at the same time pic.twitter.com/NsHNRdOW93
While that didn’t last (more on that below), he was solid in September, and was arguably the team’s second best starter in the final month. He showed an ability to strike batters out, and in his final start, he had ten strikeouts in 6.1 innings against the Nationals.
Unsurprisingly, a pitcher who was released midseason did not turn out to be the next Cliff Lee. Smyly was very bad in August, recording a 7.20 ERA for the month. In his bad starts, he was often victimized by the home run, giving up 1.9 homers per nine innings.
Smyly is a free agent, and there have been whispers that the Phillies might try to bring him back. While they should absolutely not count on him as anything more than rotation depth, I wouldn’t be opposed to signing him to a minor league deal. The rotation could certainly use left-handed options, and there’s the possibility that with another year between him and his injury, he could show improvement.