Smith's sidewinding future took form in Ohio

Joe Smith, RHP, Angels
Hometown: Cincinnati

If not for an injury suffered at Amelia High School in Batavia, Ohio, the Angels might not have had their sidewinding setup man. Smith tore his labrum as a sophomore in high school, forcing him to end his scholatic pitching career and initiating a move to first base. Still, he ended up earning all-city honors as both a baseball and basketball player in high school.

When Smith moved to college, his career took a decisive turn. After he was cut from Wright State's team as a walk-on during his freshman year, Smith made the team his sophomore year and was converted into a sidearm pitcher. It was with that arm slot that Smith thrived, earning Horizon League Player of the Year honors and becoming a third-round Draft pick of the Mets. 

The Ohio native also pitched for the cross-state Indians before signing with the Angels this past offseason.

Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.