With Lamar Odom in the NBA and Jason Foster in the NFL, the Rhode Island Rams just need an alum in Major League Baseball to complete the trifecta of Rhody players in major sports. And they could potentially get one this season. Former Rhody Ram pitcher Eric Smith is performing well in Arizona Diamondbacks camp, and he could very well make their Opening Day roster.
Smith pitched for URI from 2007-09, leaving Rhode Island early to enter the MLB Amateur Draft. The Milford, Connecticut native was taken in the second round of the June draft by the Diamondbacks, and he’s quickly moved up their ranks. Smith spend 2009-11 moving from rookie ball to A to A+ before spending the later part of last season in AA. Smith went 3-2 with a 4.29 ERA in 30 appearances for the Mobile Bay Bears in 2012, although he struggled with his control a bit. In 42 innings pitched, Smith walked 28 batters while striking out just 23, good for a pedestrian 0.82 K/BB ratio.
This spring, however, Smith has been impressive. In three appearances and 3.1 innings pitched, Smith has been nearly perfect, allowing just one baserunner via a walk while fanning three. Obviously this is a small sample size, but with Arizona in need of bullpen help, could the Rhody grad be with the DBacks on Opening Day? It’s a long-shot, especially since he hasn’t thrown a pitch in a league higher than AA in his career, but stranger things have happened. It’s more likely that he’ll start things off in AAA with a possible jump to the big leagues sometime mid-season. If he continues to limit his walks, that jump could come sooner rather than later.