Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Praises Growth of Will Smith Over Short Period

The growth of catcher Will Smith since being called up to the big leagues has been impressive to see. He has turned himself into arguably the best catcher in baseball, but it wasn’t without hard work and dedication.

Smith wasn’t ready for full-time catching duties when he was called up and split the time with Austin Barnes. But it was the games that he wasn’t in that made him into who he is today. During the team’s 2020 title run, Smith only caught three of the final eight playoff games and he didn’t like that.

He used that as motivation to get better by working on the smallest parts of his game. Smith wanted to make sure that he wouldn’t be on the bench during critical games again and I’d say it has worked out for him.

Smith just earned his first ever All-Star appearance, and he has been one of the more reliable options for the Dodgers over the last few seasons. He has earned praise from his pitching staff due to his ability to help them out in games.

Even Clayton Kershaw has noticed, and Kershaw has been around quite a bit to see a ton of different catchers.

“What he does offensively, as well as doing what we need to do with the pitching staff and taking pride in that,” Kershaw said, “he makes it look easy.”

Per The LA Times

Not only is Smith a great catcher but he has been a catalyst for the team’s offense as well due to him being able to hit in key spots. It has turned him into one of the more well-rounded players in the game. Playing the catcher position is one of the hardest in the game of baseball but Smith just makes it look so simple at times. Kershaw added more onto his praise of his teammate.

“It’s hard to break into that [conversation of] who is the best catcher in the game. Ultimately, he is one of the best catchers now, if not the best one.”

Per The LA Times

This season, Smith is hitting .275 with 13 home runs and 48 runs batted in. He has been one of the keys to the Dodgers success and he hopes to be one of the reasons that helps the team get back to the mountain top.

Smith wants to help the Dodgers get back to the promised land too, determined to not only win a second World Series, but also be the one to catch the final out.

Per the LA Times

As the second half of the season gets started, the Dodgers will look to Smith to keep producing. He has shown the consistency needed to be the everyday catcher and he should only continue to get better for this team.

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Matt Levine

Matt earned a Master of Science degree in Sport Management from Louisiana State University in 2021. He was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, growing up a huge fan of the Dodgers and Lakers. Matt Kemp was his favorite Dodgers player growing up.

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