Day 2 of the 2023 MLB Draft rolls on, and the Yankees are back on the board in the sixth round with Mississippi State pitcher Cade Smith. The team lost their second and fifth-round picks as a result of luxury tax penalties for signing Carlos Rodón, so Smith stands as their fourth selection of this year’s draft after George Lombard Jr., Kyle Carr, and Roc Riggio.
The 21-year-old right-hander has pitched for the Bulldogs since 2021, racking up a 4.11 ERA and 1.366 WHIP in 130.1 innings of work, mostly out of the rotation over the past couple years after pitching in relief his first year. Smith fanned just over a batter per inning throughout his college career and as a junior in 2023, notching 46 K’s in 43 frames.
Smith did not make the cut for MLB Pipeline’s Top 250, but he was ranked by Baseball America as its No. 438 prospect in the predraft Top 500 list. In the outlet’s rundown, the team praised the “loud fastball/curveball combination” that he featured coming out of DeSoto Central High School in Southaven, MS, but noted that some of his shine come off this year due in part to an injury after a minor breakout in the Bulldog rotation in 2022. He might ultimately be a reliver, though for a sixth-round pick, that would be perfectly fine.
Here’s some more from BA on Smith’s primary offerings, which have been tweaked a bit since his DeSoto Central days:
Smith has loud pure stuff, with a 92-95 mph fastball that has been up to 97 that has great carry and around 20 inches of induced vertical break. He also gets plenty of misses with a mid-80s slider that has hard, late biting action and consistently sneaks under barrels and elicits chases out of the zone.
Smith still throws the curveball but doesn’t utilize it quite as much as he did as a high schooler. He’ll need to improve his command to make it all the way to The Show.
Be careful in your Google searching on Cade Smith, as the Cleveland Guardians have a Cade Smith in their system as well (who also pitched for Team Canada in this past year’s World Baseball Classic). That is Cade Jared Benjamin Smith, rather than this fella, who is Jason Cade Smith. This is the more relevant Cade Smith, obviously!
Check in here to give your grades on how the Yankees did in the back-half of Draft Day 2.