Episode 4: Get To Know LHP Devin Smeltzer
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Devin Smeltzer)Podcast link here (or direct download below).
Devin Smeltzer will be 23-years-old throughout the 2019 season. He's been through a lot in his baseball career. Drafted out of high school, he went to Florida Gulf Coast University before transferring to a junior college so he could get drafted a year sooner. The Dodgers drafted him in the 5th round in 2016 and last July they traded him to the Twins. He had been moved to the bullpen by the Dodgers and pitched in that role for the Twins over the final month of the 2018 season. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League. And over the offseason, it was determined that he would get another shot as a starting pitcher. He has taken advantage of that opportunity.
In five starts in Pensacola, he posted a 0.60 ERA (2 ER in 30 IP), with just three walks to go with 33 strikeouts. He was promoted to AAA Rochester where he went 15 innings over his first two starts without giving up an earned run. When he gave up four runs in his start on Friday night, it tripled his season earned run total (from two to six).
But Smeltzer has been through a lot off the field too. When he was nine years old, he was diagnosed with pelvic rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer. After surgery and chemotherapy, Smeltzer has been in full remission since 2012.
And now he is giving back, and you can help. Recently, he announced that proceeds from his Catch Cancer Looking t-shirts will go to Katie's Krusaders. The organization is something that Smeltzer is very close to because he was helped by them. They provide funds to help defray some of the costs for families of childhood cancers that are not covered by insurance or other needs.
Please listen to the 23-minute podcast. We talk mostly about baseball but to hear Devin Smeltzer explain why this organization and bringing awareness to childhood cancer is so important to him.
(Subscribe to the Get To Know 'Em podcast on iTunes here.)
Topics in the podcast include:
- Growing up a Phillies fan.
- Getting traded from the Dodgers to the Twins
- His transition to the bullpen.
- The decision for him to move back into a starting role
- What has helped him to be so successful on the mound in 2019.
- Similarities between him and an All Star starting pitcher.
- What pitches he throws, and what is his best pitch.
- Moving up to the Red Wings.
- Catch Cancer Looking t-shirts
- Katie's Krusaders
- Being just one step away from the big leagues.
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