This past eyar Purdue saw players get drafted in the first round of the NFL and the NBA Draft. While today wasn’t the first round, The athletic department went 3 for 3 in having athletes drafted this year as Jackson Smeltz was taken in the 10th round of the MLB Draft at 300th overall by the San Diego Padres.
♠️ ,— Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) July 18, 2022
Thrilled to see the selection go into the books as Top 10 Rounds & Top 300 overall.
Good luck to Smeltzy in the @Padres organization. Perhaps he pitches in-state with the @TinCaps early in his pro career. #BoilerUp pic.twitter.com/w1ypfwszOq
It has been a long road to the draft for Smeltz. He had a 5-1 record with a 1.59 ERA as a freshman in high school and led the Mavericks in batting average as a sophomore. He was then sidelined with Tommy John surgery in 2017, and pitched very little over time. He was a solid hitter for McCutcheon in his final three years of high school, but he pitched only a total of three innings in that time.
In his first season at Purdue in 2019 he did not play at all due to injury, and in 2020 he started the year as the No. 3 starter. He went 1-0 in 11 innings pitched over five games before the rest of the season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
He finally got some regular action in 2021, where he made two starts and appeared 13 times with a 3.26 ERA over 19 1⁄3 innings. he also earned two saves. This past season he evolved into Purdue’s ace, as he made 10 starts and had a 6-1 record with a 2.83 ERA over 57 1⁄3 innings before he was shut down for the year after a late April start against Bellmont. He was dazzling with 13 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings against Indiana on April 9th. There is little question that the loss of him in the rotation was a major factor in Purdue’s late season swoon.
While the door is open for him to return to Purdue should he not sign with the Padres, there is a very good chance he is done in West Lafayette because of his injury history. His pick value is $152,100 according to MLB.com, so that is a nice bonus as well.
Smeltz is likely headed to the Arizona Rookie League affiliate of the Padres. The Lake Elsinore Storm is their A-level affiliate above the rookie league, with the next step up being close to Purdue and the Fort Wayne Tincaps of the High-A Midwest League.
Smeltz is the first Purdue player drafted since Patrick J. Smith in 2019. Smith is currently active in the Royals organization and has spent some time in Double-A this year.