Burch Smith

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Burch Taylor Smith

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Biographical Information[edit]

Burch Smith debuted in the majors in 2013.

Amateur Career[edit]

Smith was 11-3 with a 1.68 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 150 innings in high school. He had a 4-0, 3.05 record as a college freshman with Howard College and his team won the 2009 NJCAA Division I Baseball World Series. The Cleveland Indians took him in the 49th round of the 2009 amateur draft, one round after Vidal Nuno, who also made the majors in 2013, but he did not sign at that time. In 2010, he was 11-2 with a 2.50 ERA and was named the WJCAC Pitcher of the Year. Cleveland again picked him, in the 20th round of the 2010 amateur draft; again, he declined to sign. The right-hander transferred to the University of Oklahoma for 2011 and was 10-4 with a 3.90 ERA. He tied for third in the Big 12 Conference in wins and was 8th with 90 strikeouts. The San Diego Padres chose him in the 14th round of the 2011 amateur draft. This time, he signed; Lane Decker was the scout.

Minor Leagues[edit]

Smith allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings for the 2011 AZL Padres, registering a save. With the 2012 Lake Elsinore Storm, he went 9-6 with a 3.85 ERA and 137 K to 27 walks in 128 2/3 IP. He was among the Padre minor league leaders in ERA (9th), wins (tied for third) and strikeouts (1st). In the California League, he was second in WHIP (1.20, .01 behind Roenis Elias), tied for 5th in strikeouts (with Ray Hernandez), tied for fourth in wins and 7th in ERA. Showing a 98 mph fastball, he was immediately placed on the fast track to the major leagues and began 2013 pitching lights out with the San Antonio Missions of the AA Texas League (1-2, 1.15, 17 H, 37 K in 31 1 /3 IP). He was called up to the majors when Clayton Richard went on the disabled list in early May.


In his major league debut, he got the start on May 11th and took an 8-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. He had a quick 1st inning, fanning Matt Joyce and Kelly Johnson, then retired Ben Zobrist on a grounder. Things unraveled in the 2nd when he allowed seven batters to reach base while retiring none. He walked Evan Longoria then gave up a homer to James Loney. Luke Scott walked on a full count, then Sam Fuld and Jose Lobaton both singled. Yunel Escobar hit a two-run single for a 4-0 lead and Joyce hit a RBI double. Tyson Ross relieved him and allowed one inherited run to score, giving Smith a 54.00 ERA for his debut. The Padres had a five-run inning in the 8th to take a temporary lead in the game, and Smith did not get the loss in spite of his poor performance. He did somewhat better in his next start against the Washington Nationals on May 17th, pitching into the 6th inning and striking out 8 against only one walk. However, he still gave up 5 runs, but the Padres managed to score twice in the bottom of the 9th to tie the score, before losing the game in the 10th, and he escaped with another no-decision. He was not so lucky on May 22nd, when another rough outing resulted in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Facing Tyler Lyons, who was making his major league debut, Burch could not get out of the 2nd inning, having given up another 4 runs on five hits and three walks. This time, he was charged with his first career loss, and his ERA stood at an ungainly 18.41 after three starts. Coming back to the majors in September, he recorded his first career win in his 5th start on September 15th, when he defeated the Atlanta Braves, 4-0. He pitched seven strong innings that day, striking out 10, and holding his opponents hitless until his pitching opponent, Julio Teheran, singled in the 6th. Coming into the game, his ERA had been 12.41. he finished the year at 1-3, 6.44 in 10 games.

Burch was injured for most of the 2014 season and made his only two appearances with the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas, going 0-2, 18.56 before a forearm injury shut him down for the remainder of the season in mid-April. After the season, on December 17th, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in a blockbuster trade that saw C Ryan Hanigan and OF Wil Myers move to the Padres in return for five players. He then missed all of 2015 and 2016, and spent 2017 in the minors with three different teams in the Rays organization, going a combined 5-3, 2.40 in 13 games. Following the season, he was drafted by the New York Mets in the 2017 Rule V Draft on December 14th, then immediately traded to the Kansas City Royals in return for future considerations. It was thus with the Royals that Burch made his return to the big leagues in 2018. He was not in a particularly glamorous role, serving as a middle reliever and spot starter for a last-place team. On July 24th, however, he recorded his first win since his rookie year with the Padres as the Royals defeated the Detroit Tigers, 5-4, as he gave up just one hit in 6 1/3 innings in his third start of the season.

On February 15, 2020, he was acquired by the Oakland Athletics from the San Francisco Giants for cash considerations. What was interesting about this otherwise routine transaction was that it was the first one between the two neighboring teams since 1990 when the Giants had obtained Darren Lewis and Pedro Pena from the A's for Ernest Riles.


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