Smith has always been supremely confident on the pitching mound.
"A lot of my friends back home say I'm not wired right. I'm kind of crazy," Smith said with a grin. "But you have to be confident in what you do or else you're not going to perform well. So whether I'm 22 years old in the big leagues or 45 in the big leagues, I'll still have the same attitude. I'll still go out there and attack and do what I know how to do best."
In fact, the product of Newnan, Ga., is 22 and will turn 23 on July 10, the day of the All-Star Game in Kansas City. He made his debut with a loss in the glare of Yankee Stadium -- "That was crazy," he said -- and then survived a rocky first inning at Cleveland to gain his first victory. His start on Monday night against the Twins will be his first at Kauffman Stadium.
Smith is adjusting to life in the big leagues.
"Everything up here . . . it's just a totally different world up here," he said. "From the way you're treated as royalty and the information you have -- the stuff you have on hitters -- is unlimited. It's unbelievable, a lot to get used to. But at the same time, we've been doing this our whole lives so we have a pretty good idea of how to play baseball. You've just got to go out there and do what you do best."
Manager Ned Yost sees Smith as having a good fastball, curveball and slider and a wealth of mound presence.
"He's got great composure on the mound," Yost said. "You can't develop that, you either have it or you don't. I mean you can adjust it and you can learn how to handle it better, but it's a trait that I think you're born with."