Former River Bat Josh Smith Debuts with the Indians

Smith is the 216th former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB

Rochester, Minn. – Former St. Cloud River Bat Josh Smith, made his Major League debut for the Cleveland Indians on Saturday, May 25, 2019. Smith is the 216th former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.

Smith, who played collegiately at Wichita State, played for the St. Cloud River Bats in 2010. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 25th round of the 2012 MLB draft.

In 23 games with the River Bats in 2010 he was 4-3 with a 6.12 ERA and recorded 43 strikeouts in 39.2 innings pitched. He also saved four games.

Smith began his minor league career in 2012 with the State College Spikes of the Short-Season A New York-Penn League. He appeared in 21 games and was 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA. He struck out 23 batters in 29.1 innings and walked 11.

Smith started the 2013 season with the Pirates Rookie level team in the Gulf Coast League. After one game he moved to the West Virginia Power of the Lo-A South Atlantic League. Over 14 games he was 2-1 with a 6.48 ERA and struck out 18 batters in 25 innings.

In 2014 Smith spent the entire season in the Hi-A Florida State League with the Bradenton Marauders. He had his best season as a pro, going 4-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 35 games. He struck out 51 batters in 56 innings and saved eight games.

For the 2015 season Smith moved up to the Altoona Curve of the AA Eastern League. He appeared in 34 games and was 1-4 with a 5.29 ERA. He struck out 31 batters in 47.2 innings.

Smith began the 2016 season in Altoona and after 42 games he moved up to the Indianapolis Indians of the AAA International League. In 49 games between the two clubs he was 2-4 with a 6.54 ERA. He struck out 68 batters in 64.2 innings and saved two games.

After the 2016 season the Boston Red Sox claimed Smith off waivers from the Indians. He began the 2017 season with the Portland Sea Dogs of the AA Eastern League. After 33 games he moved to the Pawtucket Red Sox of the AAA International League. In 35 games he was 5-1 with a 3.01 ERA. He struck out 78 batters in 71.2 innings pitched and saved two games.

Smith was with Portland again to start the 2018 season. He would pitch in two games in Portland before moving back to Pawtucket to finish the season. He was 9-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 30 appearances with 14 of them being starts. He struck out a career-high 103 batters in 103.1 innings.

Following the 2018 season he elected free agency and went back to Cleveland.

Prior to being called up by the Indians, Smith had appeared in 17 games and was 5-1 with a 1.82 ERA. He had 32 strikeouts in 24.2 innings and had saved three games.

In his Major League debut against the Tampa Bay Rays, Smith entered the game in relief of Indians starter Carlos Carrasco. He pitched 1.2 innings and allowed three hits while striking out three.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 25-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 200 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.