Smink (Dalmatia, Pa./Line Mountain) was the draft’s 941st selection, marking the fifth-straight season that VMI has had a player drafted. Smink becomes the first Keydet to ever be drafted by the Houston organization.
“It’s been a stressful couple of days, but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders,” said Smink upon his selection. “I hadn’t heard too much from the Astros, they were a team that snuck in and overtook some teams that I’d been hearing a lot from. I’d like to thank my coaches at VMI, they’ve been very supportive and I appreciate all of their help over the past four years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
Smink was a Second Team All-Big South Conference selection this season, when he went 8-4 with a 4.33 ERA, including a 7-1 mark in 10 starts against conference opponents. He ranked among the League’s top five in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts in Big South play this season, and allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his 13 starts. Smink now ranks second in career wins, fourth in career saves (tied) and in the top 10 in career ERA and opposing batting average in VMI history.
“We’re all very excited for Travis to get this opportunity,” said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. “Travis has worked hard to become one of the top pitchers in our program’s history, and we wish him well as he realizes his dream of playing professional baseball.”
In 2008, Smink worked primarily in relief, going 2-1 with seven saves in 44.0 innings. That season, he led VMI with 19 appearances, going 2-1 with four saves in nine Big South appearances, posting a 2.67 ERA and a .224 opponents’ batting average. Those numbers allowed him to be named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award Watch List prior to the 2009 season, just the second Keydet to ever be listed.
In his first year on post, Smink became just the second Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in VMI history, joining fellow Line Mountain HS alum Kelly Sweppenhiser, who was so honored in 2003. As a freshman, Smink went 7-4 with a pair of saves, ranking second on the team with 73.2 innings.