Caleb Smith quietly making Rookie of the Year case

Caleb Smith didn’t come to Miami in the Giancarlo Stanton trade but he is subtly putting together the best Marlins season from any recent New York import.

In the Marlins 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday, Smith gave up three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched to earn the no decision and keep his ERA at a respectable 3.75. Even more impressive, Smith went 2-for-2 after getting his first career hit and RBI in his previous outing.

Going into the game, Smith held opponents to a .203 average, which ranked second among National League starters. Only Nationals ace Max Scherzer has a lower average against right-handed hitters.

Strikeouts has been Smith’s specialty lately. He currently has the second most strikeouts among Marlins rookies before the All-Star Break. The late Jose Fernandez has more with 103. His 83 strikeouts are also good for the most among NL rookies.

“I feel like he’s growing,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “The consistency of his outings are getting better so I think he’s quietly putting together a pretty solid year.”

A couple of young Marlins starters, most notably Jarlin Garcia, has been put on an innings limit in order to preserve their arm in the coming years. Smith has no innings limit but has pitched seven innings in only two starts this season.

Mattingly’s reason why is because the 26-year-old Smith is a tad more grown compared to the other rookie pitchers.

“For the most part, he’s a guy who has pitched full seasons,” Mattingly said. “He’s an older kid too. Just physically, you can see he’s kind of different. You see a guy that’s pretty tanked up and a little bit more mature in body.”

As the season progresses, the Marlins might find a future ace in Smith.

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About: Tony Capobianco

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A graduate of the University of Arizona (2008-2013), Tony Capobianco covered sports from preps to pros since 2011 from the Tucson Citizen to Miami Herald to most recently with the Enid News & Eagle. The "Cuban Cowboy" took a first pitch to the nuts and lived to laugh at the viral video. Follow him @TonyCapobianco

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