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Smith Drafted in 6th Round by Angels

by David Villavicencio

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami’s Jake Smith was the second Hurricane selected in the 2021 MLB First-Year Player Draft, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim chose the right-hander with their sixth-round pick.

Smith, who was selected with the 171st overall pick in the draft, was one of Miami’s top pitchers in his first season at The U. He joins catcher Adrian Del Castillo (2nd round, Arizona) as Hurricanes selected in the 2021 MLB Draft. A Miami Hurricane has been picked in 48 consecutive drafts dating back to 1974.

The right-hander finished the year 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA, making a climb from the bullpen to become one of the Hurricanes’ best starting pitchers. Smith ranked second on the team with 63 strikeouts over 47.0 innings pitched, leading all Miami starters in that category, and held opponents to a .216 batting average. The Chapel Hill, N.C., native made 18 appearances for the Canes, including seven starts.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander features a powerful arsenal of pitches and it was on display all season for the Hurricanes. Smith played a key role for the Canes in relief, but found his groove in late March with an effective 2.2 shutout innings at Virginia. He struck out a career-high nine batters in 3.0 innings at Pittsburgh on April 10, earning his first career start after that impressive outing.

Smith started a pair of midweek games against FGCU, earning his first career win on April 27, before striking out seven batters over 2.2 innings of relief at Boston College on May 2.

His success on the mound earned him a spot in the weekend rotation for good beginning with his start on May 8 against Appalachian State. After five scoreless innings against the Mountaineers, Smith beat Georgia Tech the next week with five strong innings and followed that with 4.2 scoreless frames in a victory at Louisville. Smith shut out Duke for five innings in the ACC tournament, striking out six Blue Devils to make his fifth straight outing with at least six strikeouts.

The 2021 MLB First-Year Player Draft will take place on July 11–13, in Denver, Colorado, in conjunction with the 2021 MLB All-Star Game on July 13.