It’s been a long road to the major leagues for former Calhoun Yellow Jackets standout Josh Smoker.
Drafted in the first round (31st overall) in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Washington Nationals, Smoker never made it above the high-A level in the organization. He became a free agent after missing the entire 2013 season with an injury.
After recovering from his injury, Smoker played independent ball for the Rockford Aviators, earning a minor league deal with New York, and it appears his persistence has paid off after nine years.
The Calhoun native made the Mets 40-man roster at the end of the 2015 season, but was never called on to make his MLB debut. New York called smoker up on Tuesday to join the Mets 26-man roster for a double-header against St. Louis.
Smoker has been refining his skills during the 2016 season at the Mets’ triple-A affiliate Las Vegas 51’s, and is 3-1 with a 4.73 ERA. He has pitched 45.2 innings in 43 games with a save, racking up 67 strikeouts and only 18 walks.