Drew Smyly's Major League debut in the Detroit Tigers rotation Thursday was not so far from collegiate ball.
Smyly, 22, raced through the ranks of the minor leagues after being drafted by the Tigers out of the University of Arkansas in 2010 in the 2nd round (68th overall). He split time between Class-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie in 2011, pitching an impressive 126 innings. He finished with a 2.07 ERA combined. His excellent professional debut concluded with the Tigers naming him Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
At Arkansas he was named All-SEC in 2010.
University of Arkansas Head Coach Dave Jorn spoke about his memories of Smyly.
"Drew was somewhat of your typical freshman; unsure of what it took to be successful. He is a competitor that took the challenge to work hard and to listen. Very coachable."
"He came in with a mid 80’s fastball and sloppy slow curveball."
"Through a weight training program and long toss program he was able to gain body strength and arm strength. He really worked hard to elevate his ability. The elimination of the CB and addition of a SL and Change up along with a 92 FB put him in position to be one of the best."
"He understood the importance of ball control and worked hard at his location."
"Drew is a quiet, confident kid that will work and compete to be the best. He's come a long way. He has the desire, competitiveness and aptitude to continue to improve."