I had the chance to exchange an e-mail Q+A with Solon HS (Ohio) left handed pitcher Matthew Smoral. Coming into the season Smoral was considered a potential top 10 selection but suffered a stress fracture in his foot that took out his season. He stands at a massive 6’8″ and I have heard comparisons to San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner. He has a strong commitment to play at The University of North Carolina that may make him a tough sign. Without further ado here is my Q+A with Matthew Smoral.
St Lucie To Flushing: You have missed most of your final high school season due to a stress fracture in your foot. Explain exactly how the injury occurred and how is the rehab coming?
Matthew Smoral: The injury occurred after my first start in Myrtle Beach, SC. I was just walking like normal and i bent down to pick something up and i felt something in my foot and i had a good idea that it was a Stress Fracture. This is an injury i had before and we decided to get it fixed and i am on track for a full recovery and no limitations in the future. I have been rehabbing it as well as working with my trainers to do as much i can in the gym.
St Lucie To Flushing: I know there were a lot of players that were invited to the MLB Network studios for the draft. Were you invited? Do you have any intention to go?
Matthew Smoral: I was not invited to the MLB network studios for the draft. I did not have any intention to go especially after what has happened this year. However i am very excited for it and know i will have a very difficult decision to make.
St Lucie To Flushing: For the fans that don’t really know about you, can you give them a scouting report of yourself as a pitcher?
Matthew Smoral: If i were to give a scouting report of myself i would say i throw a four-seam, two-seam, slider, and changeup. My fastball is my best pitch and has good action on it, my slider is my out pitch i have breen throwing it for about 9 months now and it keeps improving. I look for it to be a very goof pitch in the future. My change-up is a good pitch with good action i just need to get more comfortable throwing it in any count for strikes.
St Lucie To Flushing: Who were some of your idols growing up? Who have you tried to model your game after?
Matthew Smoral: Without a doubt my idol is Randy Johnson. I feel that i have a lot in common with him with our arm slot and hieght. I loved watching him pitch and how much tenacity and energy he had. He found a way to use those emotions to benefit him on the field and have na long succesfull hall of fame career, which is exactly what i want to do.
St Lucie To Flushing: You appear to have a strong commitment to the University of North Carolina. Right now how open are you to signing with an MLB team? Is it dependent on where you are drafted? What steered you to UNC over other colleges?
Matthew Smoral: The University of North Carolina is great in every aspect from academics to baseball and everything inbetween. That is why i choose to go there. There was no doubt in my mind that it was the place for me and i knew it on my first visit. As far as the draft goes i feel that i cant make a wrong decision and i am just blessed to be in the situation that i am in. But this spring my family and i have been preparing for UNC and we will see what happens in June. Both my family and i believe that this injury has not affected the way i throw one bit i am still the pitcher i was before this and i will be even better after it, and thats how we plan to approach the situation.
St Lucie To Flushing: Name your favorite of the following: Food, Band/Genre of Music and hobbies when you’re not playing baseball
Matthew Smoral: My favorite food has to be steak, i love steak and theres nothing better than a new york strip. My favorite genre of music has to be Country especially in the summer when its nice out, and my favorite artist is Luke Bryan.
St Lucie To Flushing: Last question. At 6’8 you can throw down a pretty mean slam dunk in basketball, right?
Matthew Smoral: To answer your last question i can throw it down for sure!! Enough to make our basketball coach cringe for all the years i didnt play
I would like to thank Matthew for his time and wish him the best of luck regardless of what he chooses to do. You can follow him on Twitter @MSmoral23