When the Milwaukee Brewers first acquired Will Smith, many in Milwaukee were not happy. They were upset because to get him they traded away outfielder and fan-favorite Nori Aoki. Groans continued as Aoki helped to lead the Kansas City Royals to the post-season.
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But two years after the trade, the Brewers are clear winners. While the Royals had Aoki for a year, the Brewers have experienced two solid years from Smith who at just 26-years-old is under team control until 2019. Here is a look Smith’s year.
For the second straight season, Smith led the team in appearances. Pitching in 76 games, he was again one of the most consistent and reliable arms on the roster. He set a new career high in strikeouts by striking out 91 batters in 63.1 innings. Though lefties hit much better against him than they did last season, he was still able to hold his opponents to a .220 batting average overall and he posted a 2.70 ERA.
His best stretch this season came from May 23rd through the end of June, when Smith put together 17 consecutive scoreless outings. Used as both a late-inning setup man and a middle inning pitcher to get a big out, he again shined all year long.
Good left handed arms in the bullpen are hard to come by and the Brewers surely have one in Smith. While the team wasn’t in contention all year long, their struggles had nothing to do with the Smith-led bullpen. With plenty of firepower throughout out the whole bullpen, Smith will again be an anchor of one of the teams biggest strengths next season.
Final Grade: A-