2024 Draft prospect reaches 100 K's faster than any Major Leaguer

Arkansas' Smith reaches century mark with 7th double-digit strikeout start of year

April 20th, 2024

Every college baseball season, a handful of pitchers are so dominant that they capture the imagination of Major League fan bases coveting young talent. Enter: Arkansas Razorbacks southpaw Hagen Smith.

In Friday night’s contest against South Carolina, the No. 15 MLB Draft prospect reached 100 strikeouts on the season, doing so in record time. Thanks to seven double-digit strikeout starts, Smith hit the century mark in just 52 2/3 innings.

For context, no pitcher in AL/NL history since 1893 has been quicker to 100 -- Spencer Strider’s 2023 campaign in which he surpassed the triple-digit threshold in 61 innings currently sets the pace.

With at least four starts likely remaining in the regular season, the Arkansas school record is within reach for Smith, who compiled 109 punchouts in 71 2/3 innings last year. The current Razorbacks high of 155 was set in 1999 by David Walling, who went on to be selected in the first round of that year’s Draft by the New York Yankees.

Smith, whom MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo described this week as a likely candidate to be the first hurler off the board in this July's Draft, is looking to become just the fourth Arkansas pitcher taken in the first round in school history joining Walling, Nick Schmidt (2007, Padres) and Ryne Stanek (2013, Rays).

Strikeouts compiled in bunches are typically a strong indicator of success, and that’s certainly been the case for Smith. The Razorbacks have won every game in which he has pitched in 2024, and he has earned the win in eight of those 10 outings. He has yielded only nine runs all season, resulting in an impressive 1.53 ERA. While he struggled to remain consistent in previous seasons, he has proven himself Mr. Reliable for the NCAA’s second-ranked team.

As the saying goes, you can never have too much pitching. Hagen Smith and his climbing strikeout totals make him an enticing prospect for those looking to stockpile talented arms.