Burch Smith had joined the long list of fringe major league players hoping to resurrect his career overseason. He had signed with the Seibu Lions for the 2022 season, hoping to find something that would allow him to continue his major league career in the future. Otherwise, he appeared destined to be nothing more than organizational depth, someone to stash at Triple-A in case of injury, but no one that would be considered a vital part of the team’s future.
If Smith’s first outing for the Lions was any indication, his time in Japan will be a success. He threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just one walk with five strikeouts as he fired 96 pitches. Despite the no-hitter in progress, he departed after the seventh with a 4-0 lead in hand.
Burch Smith hoping Seibu Lions resurrect career
Smith had been something of a baseball vagabond in his career. Prior to signing with the Lions, he had spent time with seven different organizations, with the Oakland A’s accounting for the only team to give him a second year in the majors. Considering the success he had in Oakland during the pandemic shortened campaign, it made sense to see if he could replicate that showing.
Unfortunately, he slid back to his career norms. Smith posted a 5.40 ERA and a 1.385 WHiP in his 43.1 innings last season, striking out 28 batters with 11 walks. Considering his lifetime 6.03 ERA and 1.560 WHiP over 191 major league innings, it is understandable as to why he would not have been considered a viable major league option.
But that may be about to change. Yes, it is just one start. However, Smith needs to show that he can perform at the highest level possible if he is going to get another look at the majors. If this outing is any indication, he may return better than ever.
Burch Smith is hoping to resurrect his major league career by pitching for the Seibu Lions. If his first outing is any indication, he’ll be back in 2023.