Joe Smith, Relief Pitcher, Houston Astros
Date of Birth: 3/22/1984
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio
College: Wright State University
Joe Smith, relief pitcher for the Houston Astros, was a top player at Wright State University. In 2006, he was named the Horizon League Pitcher of the Year, Wright State University MVP, and the university's Most Valuable Male Athlete. In his last two years at the university, he was the baseball team's closer.
Smith was first drafted by the New York Mets in 2006. He pitched in the minor leagues for just one year (2006) before being added to the Mets' bullpen in 2007. In 54 games that year, he pitched 44.1 innings and he had a 3.45 ERA. The following year, he pitched in a career high 82 games and he had a 6-3 record, 52 strikeouts to 31 walks, and a 3.55 ERA in 63.1 innings.
The Mets traded Smith to the Cleveland Indians in December, 2008. He stayed with the Indians through 2013. From 2011 through 2013, he had similar numbers, pitching in 71 games in 2011, 72 games in 2012, and 70 games in 2013. His best ERA was 2.01 in 2011, followed by a 2.96 ERA in 2012, and a 2.29 ERA in 2013.
Smith signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels on November 27, 2013. In 2014, he was a part-time closer for the Angels. He finished the 2014 season with career highs in innings pitched (74.2) and strikeouts (68 to 15 walks). He had a career low ERA of 1.81 and 15 saves in 76 games. In 2015, he had a 3.58 ERA in 65.1 innings in 70 games.
Smith was traded to the Chicago Cubs on August 1, 2016. He finished the 2016 season with a 3.46 ERA in 38 games with the Angels and 16 games with the Cubs. He had 2 wins and 5 losses, 6 saves, and 40 strikeouts to 18 walks in 52.0 innings. He didn't pitch in the postseason.
Smith became a free agent on November 3, 2016. He signed with the Toronto Blue Jays on February 9, 2017. He returned to the Indians in a trade on July 31, 2017. He finished the 2017 season with 3 wins and no losses, 1 save, 71 strikeouts to 10 walks, and a 3.33 ERA in 38 games with the Blue Jays and 21 games with the Indians. In the postseason, he pitched 2.1 innings in 4 games and he gave up no hits.
Smith elected free agency on November 2, 2017. He signed with the Astros on December 13, 2017.
Career pitching statistics for Smith through 2017 include:
- 698 games played
- 624.2 innings pitched
- 44-28 win-loss record
- 30 saves
- 547 strikeouts to 220 walks
- 2.97 ERA