At the ripe old age of 26, Dodgers catcher Will Smith is already a playoff veteran. Smith is thriving offensively this October. Entering Sunday’s NLCS Game 2, Smith had homered in three of the Dodgers seven playoff games.
Smith provided a simple reason for why he’s been able to excel as a hitter so far.
“I feel good in the box. Swing feels locked in. Swing at the right pitches, that’s what I try to focus on.”
In Smith’s first eight playoff games, he had one hit in 24 at-bats. That’s a catastrophic .042 batting average. Now, he’s no longer overwhelmed in the batter’s box and he explained why:
“In the postseason, you have to slow everything down. Whether it’s an at-bat, take a breath, relax…you have to be able to slow the game down and let it the game come to you.”
He leads the Dodgers in home runs (3), walks (8), and OPS (1.389) to go along with a .333 average this postseason.
Dave Roberts on Will Smith
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts took a step further in his own pregame presser. Roberts believes Smith’s combination of offense and defense makes him one of the best backstops in the league.
“There’s very few guys that you can hit in the middle, top part of the order, of a championship caliber team who’s a receiver as well. For me, he’s a top three catcher in baseball. Hands down, and that’s an easy conversation for me.”
Roberts also took note of Smith’s maturation and his ability to execute in key spots.
“…you layer on the heart beat, the pulse, he’s a heck of a player. Very intelligent guy, we don’t take it for granted.”
During an October where the Dodgers offense has been inconsistent, Smith’s hitting prowess has been more valuable than ever.
He hasn’t been a Dodger long, but Will Smith has the full confidence of his manager and has earned his role as the everyday catcher.