Saturday, April 20 2024
HOOVER, AL - MAY 25: Arkansas Razorbacks pitcher Hagen Smith (33) during the 2023 SEC Baseball Tournament game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the LSU Tigers on May 25, 2023 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There’s nasty, and then there’s Hagen Smith. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Arkansas ace Hagen Smith gave his defenders a breather on Friday, and boosted his MLB Draft stock in the process.

The Razorbacks left-hander struck out 17 batters in six innings during a start against No. 7 Oregon State, tying a program record in only two thirds of a game. He allowed only three hits and a walk before exiting with 78 pitches thrown.

An Oregon State player didn’t record an out on the ground until Micah McDowell grounded out to open the sixth inning. Before that, it was 15 strikeouts in five innings for Smith, who ended his night with a perfectly placed slider.

No. 2 Arkansas went on to win 5-4, with the winning run coming in a tie game in the bottom of the eighth.

Smith is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 15 prospect for the 2024 MLB Draft, with praise for a fastball that usually operates at 92-95 mph and a sweeping slider described as his best pitch. There are some concerns about his consistency and health (he underwent Tommy John surgery after blowing out his elbow as a sophomore), but Friday’s performance shows he can still dominate like few other college players.

Smith did this against an Oregon State team that entered Friday hitting .331/.452/.675 with 14 home runs through five games. One writer who follows MLB prospects had him touching 99 mph with his fastball.

If he couples any kind of consistency with that ceiling, Smith could hear his named called a lot earlier than 15th in the upcoming MLB Draft.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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