Myles Smith has come and gone, and it's unlikely that the pitcher will return to Lee University to continue his whirlwind relationship.
The right-hander was taken in the baseball draft's fourth round by the Boston Red Sox. He was the 113th pick overall, and Flames coach Mark Brew said it's improbable that the junior will be back in Cleveland any time soon.
"He had an adviser that I think will quickly become an agent," Brew said. "The slot value for that pick is somewhere around $480,000, and I think he has a shot to get that or pretty close to it."
Smith replaces Lance Zawadzki, a shortstop taken by San Diego with the 147th selection in the 2007 draft, as the highest draft pick in the Flames' history.
While he was happy for Smith, who pitched just one season for Lee, Brew was elated that right-hander Jose Samayoa went in the ninth round with the 280th pick overall to the Texas Rangers.
"That came out of the blue. A lot of the teams had him going in somewhere between the 20th and 25th rounds," said the coach who took the Flames to a third-place NAIA World Series finish and a 53-12 record. "I'm extremely proud for Jose because he's worked and earned everything he has gotten. It's nice to see a kid rewarded for busting his butt.
"He's not our most talented pitcher and he doesn't have the best fastball on the staff, but he may be our best pitcher. He has four pitches and he makes all of them work."
In 78 innings, the 6-foot, 205-pound Samayoa compiled a 10-1 record with a sparkling 1.73 earned run average. He struck out 83 while allowing just 47 hits.
Smith, who joined the Flames after Lee had begun classes, was the Flames' No. 1 hurler and finished with an 11-4 record and a 2.67 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings.
His decision to join Lee was obviously a last-minute choice because the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder had been bound for the University of Miami.
"He lost his opportunity to go to Miami," Brew said. "Every school has its connections and feelers out there. We knew the coach at Miami Dade and knew there was a possibility that [Smith] might be available."
The Flames couldn't contact him until he got his grades and knew he wasn't going to be able to go to Miami.
"He gave us his information, but it was one of those fast, fast things. His dad was probably on board before he was. He didn't visit the campus before he signed," Brew said. "We were actually working the NASCAR tournament in Atlanta. A couple of assistants picked him up and he did a mini-tour."
The rest is history. Smith got to the campus, said he liked it and would just stay.
"He was penciled in as a weekend starter for Miami and he was dealing with a crushing time personally," said Brew, who has developed a track record for getting players drafted. "Still, it took a leap of faith on his part."
The 6-foot, 175-pound Smith, a native of Detroit, was picked by the Mets in the 16th round last year. Lee was his third school. He started at Missouri and transferred to Miami Dade before the 2012 season.
"He's an awesome kid, a very humble kid," Brew said. "He did a good job academically and was a good team player."
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...
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