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Daily Notes: Mostly Concerning Burch Smith’s Debut Today

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Featured Game: San Diego at Tampa Bay, 18:10 ET
2. Other Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Featured Game: San Diego at Tampa Bay, 18:10 ET
Regarding This Game, Who’s Starting It for San Diego
Starting this game for San Diego — in fact, making his major-league debut in this game for San Diego — is 23-year-old right-hander Burch Smith.

Regarding Burch Smith, Who the Hell He Is
In terms of who the hell is Burch Smith, Burch Smith is one of the minor leagues’ most successful pitchers this season so far, having posted a 37:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio, for example, in just 31.1 innings (six starts) for Padres Double-A affiliate San Antonio — which performance (along with reports regarding his stuff) has earned him a place among the Fringe Five each of the last three weeks.

Regarding Burch Smith, Who the Hell He Also Is
Originally, Smith was a 14th-round pick by the Padres in 2011 out of the University of Oklahoma, at which university he had matriculated following two years at junior college. He pitched briefly in the Arizona League following the draft in 2011 (2.0 IP, 4:1 K:BB) and then in the High-A California League last season (128.2 IP, 137:27 K:BB).

Regarding Burch Smith, His Prospect Status
Entering the season, Smith had been entirely absent from any of the notable top-100/-150 prospect lists (Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Bullpen Banter, FanGraphs, Sickels). Since last season, though, he appears to have added some velocity to his fastball, sitting no longer at 89-93 mph (as reported by John Sickels last summer) but more like 94-96 (as the Union-Tribune’s Bill Center reported within the last couple of days).

Action Footage: Burch Smith’s Fastball
Here’s Burch Smith throwing his fastball for a strikeout recently to Oakland minor leaguer Chad Oberacker:


More Action Footage: Still Burch Smith’s Fastball
Here’s Smith throwing his fastball for a strikeout to the next batter after Oberacker, D’Arby Myers:


Readers’ Preferred Broadcast
Per the results of our crowdsourcing project from the 2011-2012 offseason, FanGraphs readers prefer Tampa Bay Radio (link).

Other Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
Pittsburgh at New York NL | 13:10 ET
“Grave abuse of power” is a phrase the reader might consider utilizing with regard to the author’s decision today to assign a Nerd score of 12 to left-hander Francisco Liriano, making his (i.e. Liriano’s, not the author’s) debut today for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Liriano — whose career, not unlike a painting which makes considerable use of chiaroscuro, is a study in contrasts — has been excellent in three Triple-A starts. To wit: 16.0 IP, 23 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 1.51 FIP.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: New York NL.

Colorado at St. Louis | 14:15 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Nolan Arenado Status Update: 46 PA, 4.3% BB, 6.5% K, .227/.261/.477 (.184 BABIP), 86 wRC+, 0.3 WAR.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: St. Louis Radio.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.1.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Francisco Liriano* PIT 12 7 7 7 1 NYN Jon Niese 13:10
Mark Buehrle TOR 3 4 6 10 7 BOS Clay Buchholz 13:35
Jhoulys Chacin COL 4 7 6 1 9 STL Ad. Wainwright 14:15
Paul Maholm ATL 6 9 7 5 7 SF M. Bumgarner 16:05
Edwin Jackson CHN 6 5 7 3 10 WAS St. Strasburg 16:05
Hiram Burgos* MIL 4 7 6 4 7 CIN Mat Latos 16:10
Burch Smith* SD 15 4 9 8 4 TB Jer. Hellickson 18:10
Ubaldo Jimenez CLE 5 10 7 7 9 DET Justin Verlander 19:08
Jerome Williams* LAA 3 4 4 0 5 CHA Jose Quintana 19:10
Steve Johnson* BAL 7 7 6 4 4 MIN Vance Worley 19:10
Andy Pettitte NYA 4 5 6 6 7 KC James Shields 19:10
Yu Darvish TEX 10 4 6 5 4 HOU Erik Bedard* 19:10
Cliff Lee PHI 7 1 5 5 4 AZ Trevor Cahill 20:10
Kevin Slowey MIA 5 0 5 2 8 LAN Hyun-Jin Ryu 21:10
Jarrod Parker OAK 2 6 4 4 4 SEA Brandon Maurer 21:10

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.