Hagen Smith has had a remarkable senior season of baseball at Bullard High in Texas. The left-handed prep pitcher has tossed five no-hitters and allowed just one run and six hits in 55 innings this spring. He also has struck out 127 batters.
His success has come after he missed his junior year recovering from Tommy John surgery. Less than two years after undergoing surgery, Smith is a well-regarded prospect for July’s MLB draft.
Smith has enhanced his draft status this spring, as scouts have had the chance to watch him pitch for the first time since summer 2019. Scouts believe Smith could hear his name called in the first three rounds of this year’s draft.
“It has been pretty cool having scouts come watch me pitch this spring,” Smith said. “I don’t have any expectations for the draft. I don’t know what to expect.”
Smith is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-handed pitcher who throws a four-seam fastball, curveball, slider and changeup from a three-quarters arm slot. Following his surgery and recovery, Smith tweaked his delivery, as he shortened his arm path to make it smoother and improve his consistency, he said.
His fastball is his best pitch. It features sinking action and sits in the low-90s while touching 96 mph. His curveball is his top secondary pitch, as it features sharp-breaking action. He recently developed a true slider due to his desire to have a pitch that has a horizontal break, he said.
Smith has confidence in his changeup. He hasn’t relied on it this spring, however, due to the level of competition he has faced.
“My off-speed pitches are my biggest strengths,” Smith said. “I think I have a really good curveball and slider. I don’t throw the slider as much in the game, but I have a really good curveball that is effective.”
Smith has enjoyed seeing his success and overall development this spring. As the draft approaches, Smith hopes to improve his command and refine his mechanics, he said.
“I want to have better command and gain more velocity on my fastball over the rest of my season,” Smith said.
Besides his status as a top draft prospect, Smith also is an Arkansas commit. He verbally committed to the Razorbacks as a high school junior, selecting them over Florida and Texas A&M. Arkansas’ coaching staff and the program’s commitment to winning and history developing talent for the pro ranks stood out to Smith.
“The campus is awesome,” Smith said. “When I was down there on my visit, we went to a fall baseball game, and the fans were crazy. I loved the atmosphere.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He has interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.