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Sunday, May 21, 2023

Chad Smith turned pro after high school no-hitter; Saw five seasons

Chad Smith 1990 Durham Bulls card, Smith seen up close

The Atlanta Braves picked Kentucky high schooler Chad Smith early in the 1986 draft and Smith attributed that to a late high school no-hitter he threw, he told his hometown Kingsport Times-News.

"They wanted to know that I had more than a fastball," Smith told The Times-News. "They liked my slider and the control I had with it. They told me that I'd only have one breaking ball."

Smith went on from there see the pros over five seasons. He topped out at high-A.

Chad Smith 1990 Miami Marlins card

Smith's career started that year in 1986, taken by the Braves in the third round of the draft out of Sullivan South High School in Kingsport.

Smith started with the Braves in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He went 2-8, with a 3.53 ERA. He then moved to rookie Pulaski and went 3-6, with a 6.82 ERA.

That July with Pulaski, Smith spoke with The Johnson City Press about his early struggles.

"Sometimes you wonder and second guess yourself, but I felt I was ready and this was my chance to make it to the big leagues," Smith told The Press. "Now I'll never be wondering, 'Could I have made it?,' because I will have tried."

Chad Smith 1990 Miami Marlins card

Smith moved to single-A Burlington for 1988. He went 2-5, with a 4.67 ERA used largely as a reliever. At single-A Sumter and Durham in 1989, he turned in a 12-6 record overall as a starter, with a 3.04 ERA.

He spoke with The Sumter Item in May 1989 about his turnaround, which he attributed to putting weight back on that the club had wanted him to lose.

"The second half of the season I was throwing good quality strikes with my fastball, changeup and breaking ball," Smith told The Item.

Smith's time with the Braves, however, neared its end. He returned to Durham for 1990, but saw only four outings. He then moved to independent high-A Miami. He saw 22 outings, five starts there and went 1-7, with a 7.02 ERA to end his career.

Chad Smith 1990 Durham Bulls card, Smith seen up close

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,166
Made the Majors:1,375-33.0%
Never Made Majors:2,791-67.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:558
10+ Seasons in the Minors:340

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