Commitment Corner: White Bear Lake's Derrick Smith Set To Join The Pack

Parker Hageman
Prep Baseball Report Minnesota

White Bear Lake’s Derrick Smith sits near the top of Minnesota’s class of 2022 rankings.

The number 3 overall prospect has demonstrated a wellspring of tools, including speed (6.85 60 time), a solid stick (90 MPH exit velocity) and an eye-popping fastball (93 MPH) that he lands for strikes. A 6-foot-2 athlete with a solid frame, it’s no surprise that college programs took an early interest in the two-way player.

Smith recently joined the Ducks On The Pond podcast to discuss his commitment to NC State, his game, and his future.

You can listen to the full interview on Spotify or Apple.

What led to your commitment to NC State?

My club coach, Justin Gominsky, recommended me to them; they asked for my contact information and we've been talking from there. I liked them from the start, they were really nice guys and I know they have a good baseball program and good development and that's what ultimately led to my commitment there.

What aspects about NC State did you like outside of baseball?

Their campus is pretty nice. They sent me a PDF of that. It looks like a good atmosphere for me and I'd like to get out of the cold in Minnesota. 

Did you know much about NC State before committing and were you nervous pitching in front of their coaches?

I've actually never looked into them at all before they came. When there's scouts there I just block it out and just go do me. I just do what I have to do. And then they just started talking to me and I liked them. 

How long did it take to decide?

I'd say about three months. We talked for quite a bit. Got to know each other. That's how we got closer and it led to my commitment. 

What was the experience like as a junior, pitching in front of pro scouts at the Midwest ProCase?

That was my first ever time pitching in front of pro scouts and it was pretty nerve-wracking. I talked to a lot of guys in the dugout and it was their first time too so it kind of eased the pressure off my shoulders and then I just got out there and did what I had to do.

How do you use your arsenal?

I usually establish the four-seam first because you want to land that fastball. I have a two-seam to go with that, which I like to go inside on hitters a lot. I got a slider -- I go slider not curveball -- that's probably my favorite pitch to throw.  And then the change-up. That's still a work in progress.

What are your goals for the off-season?

My focus is to gain velo and stamina so I can go longer as a starter. Our pitching coach for Icemen, Bradley Spencer, has a list of mechanics stuff and our lifting program, Nick Caldeen, has some stuff for me in the weight room so all of that put together will lead to my goal. 

What pro guys do you try to replicate your game after?

Gerrit Cole. He just attacks hitters with every pitch and lands them all for strikes. That's what my main goal is so that is my inspiration from the pros. For a hitter I'd say Luis Arraez for the Twins because he puts the bat on any ball and puts it where the ball is placed and he's just a tough hitter to get out. Doesn't chase many balls and gets the barrel on everything. 

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