2015 Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects: #12 Matt Smoral


It’s that time of year, where the team here at Jays Journal once again discusses the Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects. We’ve compiled our Top 20. Basically, we wanted to create the most all-inclusive Blue Jays prospect ranking out there.

So, we took a mixed approach to our rankings. Not only did we take a ranking from each member of our writing staff, but we also figured in the rankings from other publications as well, including MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Minor League Ball.

With all of the tabulating completed, we check in with the 12th spot on our Top Prospects list: Matt Smoral

Name: Matt Smoral
Position: Pitcher
Date of Birth: Mar18/94 (20yrs old)
Acquired: 1st round (50th) of 2012 Amatuer Draft
Height/Weight: 6’8”/ 220lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L


  • #15 on our 2014 Top Prospects list
  • 2014 Post Season All Star (Bluefield)
  • 2012 Rawlings First Team High School All-American
  • 2012 Rawlings/Perfect Game – All Regional First Team (Central)


After a fairly rough 2013 that saw him put up a 7.01 ERA, Smoral bounced back well in 2014. He started 2014 in Bluefield and ended up in Vancouver for 5 games.

After a fairly rough 2013 that saw him put up a 7.01 ERA, Smoral bounced back well in 2014. He started 2014 in Bluefield and ended up in Vancouver for 5 games.

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In 53 innings, he only allowed 19 earned runs. He allowed 45 hits, 33 walks and 70(!) strikeouts. Despite holding batters to a .226 average, his WHIP sat at 1.45, which was down from his previous year’s mark of 1.87. Even though he made 8 (of his 14 games) starts all season, he averaged nearly 4 innings per outing.

Watching a Smoral outing at the end of August in Vancouver, Charlie Caskey gave us an interesting scouting report on the 6’8” lefty:

"“Sitting behind home plate, it’s easy to see how hitters struggle to pick him up.  Smoral’s delivery is deceptive.  He hides the ball well with a high front elbow before pausing and coming through.  With his 6’8″ frame it looks like he’s on top of home when the ball is delivered.  And try as I could, I saw no noticeable change of arm speed between his three different pitches. His slider is nasty.  It looks like a fastball before breaking late and sharp.  As per the fastball though, his command wasn’t quite where he’d expect it, but the quality of the pitch meant he could use it in any spot.”"

That seems to be the rub. Smoral’s ability to avoid throwing the ball in the strike zone without it being hit. His WHIP suggests that he is fairly hittable when he is in the zone. 33 walks in 53 innings suggests that his consistency for finding the zone is not as refined as you’d like to see.

Caskey hooks us up with a video of Smoral warming up:

The delivery and motion seem to be fairly easy for him. His ability to hide the ball is what stands out to me. That is going to serve him well as a tall left handed pitcher. The issue, though is considering this deception, you’d like to see a much lower WHIP. If batters have less time to see the ball, they shouldn’t be hitting it so well. Instead, they are picking up 7.5 hits per nine innings.


Smoral has drawn comparisons to Randy Johnson (probably because of his height) and Madison Bumgarner. If he can come close to living up to those lofty expectations, the Blue Jays should be quite excited about his future. 

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  • He’ll likely start the season in Lansing. His 1.76 ERA as a starter in Vancouver (albeit in just 3 starts) is worth noting. His frame, his age, his delivery and the fact that he has 3 pitches to work with suggest that starting is his calling. A season in Lansing where he can pick up a good sample size of starts might go a long way to deciding his future. If he can decrease the hits and walks and continue his 2014 pace of 11.7 K/9, look for him to move quickly.

    At 20 yrs old, Smoral has plenty of time to work with. We’ve become a bit spoiled over the last year with watching prospects fly through the system. That may not be the case with Smoral. However, if he can harness his repertoire, there is no reason why he can’t progress in 2015. Having said that, even though there is lots to be excited about with Smoral, Blue Jays fans should not expect to see him in Toronto for a while.

    ETA: 2018

    Next: 2015 Blue Jays Top Prospects: #13 Richard Urena

    Credit: YourVanCs