NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Lipscomb pitcher Josh Smith added to his success this season as the selection by fans as the top starting pitcher on the Class A level for 2011.
Smith, pitching for the Dayton Dragons in the Midwest League, was the top pitcher in Class A with 14 wins and 166 strikeouts. His 2.97 earned run average placed him in the top 15 at the Class A level which also includes the South Atlantic League.
His honor was announced by Minor League Baseball (MiLB.com). The Dayton franchise is one of the most successful at any level of sports with a record string of sellouts. Smith was selected by 48 percent of fans.
“It’s an honor,” Smith said. “Anytime you can get recognized on a web site like Minor League Baseball.com it is really cool.
“We had great fans in Dayton all year. Everyone knows about our sellout streak. They really came out every game and support us. This is an award that can be given back to the fans because of that support and their voting.”
A 2010 Midwest League All-Star, Smith also credits his success in his second year as a professional player to the support of his family.
“When you have a tough game it is good to have someone who is behind you 100 percent,’” Smith said. “I have been blessed with family, friends that I can go to whenever I need support.”
Smith, a right-hander, was a 21st round selection by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 Major League Amateur Draft. He is going to spring training in 2012 with the expectation of at least a promotion to Double-A.
“It is great anytime you can put up really consistent numbers and help your team go the playoffs,” Smith said. “That is all you can really hope for.”
Like every player laboring in the minors, Smith hopes that the right people in the Reds’ organization noticed his performances.
“They are pretty good about giving everybody a look,” Smith said. “To win a job at Double-A would be nice. But all that matters to me is that I have a job.
“I just try to get better every day. There are little things I can do to make my pitches sharper. I try to learn as much as I can.”
Smith also gives credit to members of the Reds’ organization including Dayton pitching coach Tony Fossas.
“We had great coaches and coordinators who came in and helped me if I had a rough start or a rough time working in the bullpen,” Smith said. “They helped me learn.
“No outing is going to be perfect. Even if I had a good game they helped me out with certain things I did wrong. They have done a great job of guiding me along the way.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.