Smith selected by Los Angeles Angels in eighth round of MLB Draft


With Tyler Smith getting drafted in the eighth round by the Los Angeles Angels, the right-handed closer became the third player to get drafted in the top 10 rounds in the last three years. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin)

By Marshall Haim

Sports Editor

Former Canisius right-handed closer Tyler Smith is going pro.

The hard-throwing reliever was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the eighth round of the 2018 MLB Draft on Tuesday afternoon. Smith, a native of Trafford, Pa., is the earliest draft pick since Joe Mamott was selected in the sixth round of the 1994 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.

With getting drafted in the eighth round, Smith becomes the third Canisius draftee to go in the second day of the MLB Draft in the last three years, joining former teammates Connor Panas and Devon Stewart. Panas and Stewart were both selected in the ninth round of the 2015 Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians, respectively.

Smith was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Relief Pitcher of the Year after closing out his senior year at Canisius this past year with a 2-3 record while boasting a sparkling 0.98 ERA. He recorded 10 saves in 25 appearances this season limiting opponents to hit a mere .185 off him.

He was also named to the MAAC All-Championship Team in the conference tournament on Staten Island.

“It meant more than anything in the world,” Smith wrote via direct message to The Griffin late Thursday evening regarding what it felt to get drafted by the Angels. “It’s the biggest blessing that I’ve ever been given and it’s incredible to know that a professional team thinks that I will be able to help them win a championship in the future.”

Over the past two years as Canisius’ closer, Smith added 21 saves to his credit while having a 5-3 record in 47 total appearances, all coming in relief. He threw 66 1/3 innings, allowing just 38 hits and 15 runs. Only five of the 15 total runs ended up being earned runs, resulting in an impeccable 0.68 ERA. Smith also struck out 86 batters.

“I am very happy for Tyler, he has worked extremely hard for this opportunity,” head coach Matt Mazurek told on Tuesday. “I believe this next chapter in his career is going to be the perfect environment for him to continue to grow and develop. It will be exciting to follow his career in professional baseball.”

The 6-foot, 233-pound reliever became the 14th Canisius player drafted by an MLB club. Every Canisius draftee has been drafted by a team that plays in the American League.

Smith is also the seventh player and the fourth pitcher drafted out of Canisius in the last six years. Stewart, Rohn Pierce (2014) and Garrett Cortright (2013) were the other former Griffs pitchers selected. Jake Lumley (last year), Panas and Brett Siddall (2015) were the other Griffs drafted within that timeframe.

“I’m proud to be an alum of one of the winningest baseball programs in the Northeast,” Smith said. “The baseball program has given me opportunities that I could’ve never wished for and I’ll forever be thankful to Coach Mac (McRae) and Coach Maz (Mazurek) for everything they’ve done to help me mature as a person.

“That’s the biggest thing this program is done for me. It has taught me to mature as both a baseball player but more importantly, as a person.”

With the news of getting drafted, Smith became the first alumnus from Penn-Trafford High School to get drafted. Mike DeMark is the only alumnus from the New Harrison, Pa. school to play professionally, according to Baseball Reference. The 35-year-old is in his 12th season at the professional ranks, currently playing in the Mexican League for the Quintana Roo Tigres.

“It’s honestly surreal to think that I’m the first-ever baseball player to get drafted from Penn-Trafford and only the second to play professionally,” Smith said of the opportunity to represent both of his alma maters. “It’s crazy to think that Mike DeMark was the only other guy from Penn-Trafford to play professionally and he even had the honor of representing the United States in the World Baseball Classic. That’s the greatest honor that I could ever think of in baseball and he’s definitely someone that I look up to.”

Following the final 30 rounds of the MLB Draft on Wednesday, Smith remained the lone Canisius player to get drafted in this year’s draft. He was one of six MAAC players to get drafted. Niagara’s Greg Cullen went in the 15th round to Atlanta while San Francisco selected two MAAC players taking Manhattan’s Fabian Pena in the 25th round and Siena’s Marcos Campos in the 29th round. Manhattan pitcher Joe Jacques taken in the 33rd round by Pittsburgh.


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