MLB.com’s number 11 prospect for the KC Royals at midseason is no longer in their minor league system and was not on this list prior to the 2013 season. They gave him up to the Houston Astros in exchange for outfielder Justin Maxwell.
Right-handed starter Kyle Smith was pitching very well for High-A Wilmington and was the Blue Rocks lone All-Star. Though his record was just 5-4, he had a 2.85 ERA in 19 starts. Over 104.1 innings, opponents hit .238 against him and he struck out 96 compared to 29 walks.
Though Smith was selected out of high school in just 2011, he pitched like a seasoned veteran (he was just 20 years old during the season). He had a total of 72.1 minor league innings under his belt, but Carolina League hitters could not figure him out.
Upon the trade to the Astros, they sent Smith to the hitter-friendly California League to play for High-A Lancaster. He struggled in his first start (just 2/3 of an inning), but followed that up with a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts in his next start. Overall with the JetHawks, he had a 7.33 ERA in five starts. He allowed 26 hits in 23.1 innings. Smith may have struggled a bit by getting hit, but he did not struggle with his command (9BB to 21 K).
Smith being traded could come back to bite the Royals, but the Astros are building their big league team from within and Smith should get a shot in the next two years. I cannot wait to watch him pitch in the Major Leagues.