Dodgers catcher Will Smith is looking to impress this Spring Training. The 25-year-old backstop is apparently in serious competition with veteran Austin Barnes for who will get the majority of starts at catcher this season.
In his first two years in the majors, Smith has recorded a .268/.363/.574 slash line with a .937 OPS. He’s a potent offensive catcher, but needs to improve his framing and game management from behind the dish.
Reportedly, the catcher rolled into camp ready to work. Moreover, according to fellow Dodger youngster Gavin Lux, his long-time minor league teammate arrived at Camelback Ranch in great shape and ready to improve. Lux was interviewed on Dodger Talk with David Vassegh this week and had this to say about Smitty’s spring physique:
“He looks good dude, I mean, his biceps are the size of my quads, so, he looks like a tank.”
The week prior, Vassegh had asked Will Smith during his media availability directly about adding strength to endure a 162-game season.
“I mean, every offseason you try to get stronger, try to recover from the year before.”
Vassegh continued to press the modest Smith about his added bulk and mentioned he looked noticeably different. The humble Smith downplayed the idea, adding that he’s at the same weight he’s been over the last two seasons and that he feels ready to go.
The fact that Smith rolled into Arizona in February in game shape says a lot about LA’s 2016 first round pick. Many young players would be complacent after winning a World Championship, but not Will Smith.
He’s in shape now, rather than playing himself into shape, which means he’ll have added time to improve his defensive skills throughout camp. In addition to continuing to build his rapport with the pitching staff, Smith will also need all the time he can get to learn how to handle two new starters in Trevor Bauer and David Price.
Smith needs to continue to perform offensively and defensively if he wants to firmly cement himself as the everyday starting catcher.
Physically, he’s better than ever. Just don’t ask him.