MLB’s Padres draft Voorhees’ Own Devin Smeltzer
Most athletes would say getting drafted is the shining moment of their career and the culmination of all the hard work they’ve put in. Devin Smeltzer, a Voorhees native, says it has only motivated him more.
“It was nice to get my name off the board,” Smeltzer said. “But now, I have to work even harder to prove myself.”
The San Diego Padres drafted Smeltzer in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball Draft after an impressive career at Eastern High School and Bishop Eustace.
“My high school career has been an awesome ride,” Smeltzer said. “I started my freshman year at Eastern, where I managed to crack the varsity lineup as a pitcher.”
After his freshman year, Smeltzer transferred to Bishop Eustace, where his talents began to take shape. It’s not just baseball that Smeltzer will remember at Bishop Eustace, though; the team became a second family to him.
“I was taken in right away at Eustace,” Smeltzer said. “I’ve left this school with a lot of brothers who will be family the rest of my life.”
The drive and determination that pushed Smeltzer to become a better baseball player did not come from the field, however. Just before his 10th birthday, Smeltzer was diagnosed with cancer.
“If it wasn’t for being sick, I truly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today or the person I’ve become,” Smeltzer said.
After fighting cancer for years, Smeltzer was cured in 2012. However, he continues to help those who also suffer similar circumstances.
“I want to inspire kids who are in the shoes I was once in and to give them hope that there’s light on the other side,” he said. “Everyone is here on this earth for a reason, and I’ve been put through what I’ve been through to help others get through tough times.”
“Devin was not only a great player because of his talent and skill, he was also a special young man,” Sam Tropiano, Smeltzer’s head coach at Bishop Eustace, said. “The way he battled his illness and then gave back to help others who were suffering from it as well was incredibly inspiring.”
As for his future, Smeltzer is still undecided. He has already committed to Florida Gulf Coast College, but says he will weigh all of his options before making a decision.
“I’m going to go into the summer and see what happens,” Smeltzer said.
Whatever Smeltzer decides, he is sure that good will come of it.
“Baseball has given me a lot of opportunities in my life and whether I decide to sign with the Padres or not, I will use the opportunity to have a positive impact on the world,” he said.