Dodgers Team News

Dodgers: ESPN’s Olney Lists Will Smith As One of Baseball’s Top Catchers

While Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith has just 54 big league games under his belt, it’s easy for that thought to escape some. Truly, Smith displayed the poise of a veteran during his first campaign in the big leagues in 2019.

Furthermore, he displayed the ability to drive the baseball off the sport’s best pitching. Honestly, how easy is it to forget that Smith hit 15 home runs upon his call-up in that small sample of games? For one, I did.

Now, Buster Olney of ESPN has compiled a list of his top-10 catchers in baseball. Indeed, Smith cracks the list at number ten. Remember, for a guy with that small amount of experience to make the list; it’s incredibly special.

Here’s what Olney says of Smith.

10. Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers

That the Dodgers turned over a championship-caliber pitching staff to a rookie said everything you need to know about Smith, who reminds evaluators a lot of Posey in his skill set and demeanor. In his first 170 plate appearances, Smith had an adjusted OPS+ of 134 — a sign of what’s to come.

By comparison, J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, and Roberto Perez topped the list. Therefore, Smith isn’t that far from moving up a few slots with another solid sophomore year under his belt.

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Finally, the premise of Olney’s article is that with the possibility of an automated strike zone; more of a premium will be put on catchers that can simply hit. Catchers will still be expected to be good ‘receivers of the baseball’ Olney states, but teams are going to want someone at the position who can rake.

Moving forward, Smith will be entering his age-25 season in 2020. Of course, this could mean many years of mashing with the side benefit of being a solid little defender and handling the pitching staff.

NEXT: Dodgers Projected to Lead NL in WAR

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  1. Let’s all hope Smith can stay healthy and active throughout 2020. If he gets injured…look out folks, because as it would stand now, Barnes would take over the starting catcher duties and guess who would be brought up here to back him up….yeah…Rocky Gale, the worst hitting catcher around who makes Barnes offensively look like Johnny Bench or Mike Piazza.

  2. Got to think that Ruiz gets called up at a couple points prior to September. That is, if he is not part of a trade this off-season. Barnes is either going to have to get his offense up; or he will be passed by. If he continues his progression; Ruiz would pass Gale this year fairly easily. BUT, Gale may be here because Wong and Cartaya are not ready; and Ruiz is being dangled in trade talks.

  3. Now the Dodgers have Olney writing up the farm guys! What else does he have to write about regarding the team? There’s nothing else.. Smith showed me exactly what he’s capable of against top tier pitching last Oct. Olney compares him to Posey? Posey’ s rookie year he hit 400 in the playoff’ s, smashed game winning homers in clutch moments and led his team to a world series title! When Smith suddenly becomes that good, I’ll take his writing seriously. Looks like he’s trying to sell Smith in this write IP!

    1. You should delete that post. According to ESPN statistics. In their regular season and first year comparison Smith had 15 home runs in 170 At bats. Posey had 18 Home Runs in 406 At bats. Posey in season 1 did not hit 400, you are way off as he hit .261 in the playoffs with 1 home run. Your embellishment was wrong as well, he did not hit game winning home runs. Additionally, In his 25 year old season he (Posey) was 12 for 60 batting .200 striking out 25% of the time in the playoffs. The only thing to complain about with regards to Smith might be seen in playoffs and his 13 at bats, which is really too small a sample size Smith did not do well hitting .077. Olney is correct in everything he has said about Smith who in some ways is much better than Posey at the same time in their career.

    2. I agree Kirk. Posey should be pre-qualified for the HOF. Smith on the other hand needs to come back from a serious tailspin after a great start last season. Like most Dodger players, he was AWOL in October. Comparing Posey to Smith at this point is ridiculous. Posey is proven. Smith has alot to prove.

  4. Have to think that Ruiz gets called up a couple times prior to September. Barnes is going to have to pick it up a notch or 2 or he is going to be passed by. Gale has probably been resigned as a stopgap only. Ruiz may be being dangled this off-season as trade bait. Wong and Cartaya are not ready. If Ruiz continues his progression; he should easily pass Gale on the depth chart. And Barnes better look out.

  5. I’ve read comments that Smith choked at the plate in the POs. Far from it. They seem to forget he hit two that every player stated would have been gone if they were playing with the same balls as during the season. Both died at the warning track but he tattoo’d them. can’t say anything beyond the balls certainly carried differently and just didn’t just off the bat the same.

    Point is he did deliver in game 5 but the baseball gawds smacked him down…. perhaps it was the ‘stros at work?

    I’m guardedly optimistic on Smith. I think i saw a vulnerability in his swing and that’s breaking balls away on the edge of the plate. He didn’t seem to be able to lay off them despite him not being able to put solid contact on the ball.

    1. baseball gods are just people in the shadows using special technology to help script games in the playoffs

    2. That’s gotta be the worst list of excuses I’ve seen yet and that goes for both of you actually

    3. Grumpy, I noticed Howie Kendrick and Soto’ s balls must have been switched back to regular season balls. I noticed Soto and Howies came off their bats completely diffetent than Smiths did as well.And who was Every player? Lux?

  6. Smith is incredibly important to the Dodgers. The right handed power hitters are Turner, Smith, and…nobody else. I’m not counting Pollock and his 15 home runs last year, or his exercise in futility in the postseason. Smith tailed off badly after his phenomenal start last year. But hopefully he can get off to a good start in 2020 and keep it going. In the land of the left handed hitters (LA), the right handed power hitter could be king. As for Barnes, I like him, but how many years do you give a guy to rediscover his swing. I’d rather give Ruiz a shot even though he regressed last year.

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