Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 5/4/12

If you scan the league leaders in ERA you might be surprised to see Detroit Tigers rookie Drew Smyly among the leaders at 1.23. Technically his 22.0 innings don’t qualify Smyly to be among the leaders, but it’s hard not to be impressed with what the 22-year old southpaw has done.

It’s not like he’s had an easy path to his early success. He’s faced the Rays, Royals, Rangers, and Yankees thus far, making his 1-0 record, 1.23 ERA, and 1.18 WHIP all that more impressive.
He gave up one unearned run to the Royals, but what he’s done against the three powerhouses is where he really makes the grade. He allowed just three runs on 11 hits in 16.0 innings for a 1.69 ERA and 1.13 ERA against three of the most patient, powerful offenses in the league.
He’s not getting it done with smoke and mirrors either. He is averaging a strikeout per inning, and even took it up a notch (10.1 K/9) against that trio.
He has pretty much had success across the board. He’s got a 1.80 ERA at home and a 0.75 ERA on the road. He has a 1.69 ERA during day games and has tossed six scoreless innings in night starts. The only area he has struggled is facing left-handed hitting. He has allowed a .183 BAA and a .563 OPS against righties and a .333 BAA and .983 OPS against lefties.
His success should not come as a surprise. He was 9-1 with a 2.80 ERA in his final year at Arkansas. He toyed with minor league hitting posting a 7-3 record and a 2.58 ERA for Single-A+ Lakeland and a 4-3 record with a 1.18 ERA for Double-A Erie. He only pitched 1-2/3 innings of Triple-A ball so his 16.20 ERA there can be ignored. Overall he had a 2.26 ERA in 127-2/3 minor league innings.
Smyly is owned in less than twenty percent of fantasy leagues, which will surely increase if his success continues. His next start is today against the White Sox at home. If you aren’t high on Smyly yet, perhaps you should be.
By Ryan Lester Feedcrossing.

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