Dodgers catcher Will Smith sometimes doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Since he came into the league in 2019, only JT Realmuto and Willson Contreras have posted a higher Wins Above Replacement among catchers. And yet, in the last two years, besides Realmuto and Contreras, he’s been passed over for the National League All-Star team in favor of Yadier Molina, Omar Narvaez, Buster Posey, Travis d’Arnaud, and William Contreras.
Last year, MLB Network ranked zero-time All-Star Smith as the third-best catcher in baseball in their “Top 10 Right Now” series. This year, zero-time All-Star Smith has moved up that list again.
Smith comes in as the number-two catcher on MLB Network’s list this year, trailing only Realmuto.
It’s kind of interesting that the Braves and Blue Jays both have two catchers on the list; I’m not sure if that says more about those teams or the relative scarcity of great catchers. But Smith at number two is really nice to see after watching him get disrespected in the All-Star voting the last couple years.
Smith will be 28 in March and is coming off a season in which he posted his lowest OPS+ (still an excellent 120) but his highest WAR (4.2). He had a career-high 578 plate appearances in 2022, knocking 24 homers, 26 doubles, and three triples. He also played excellent defense behind the plate.
Smith is a quiet, unassuming guy. He’s not flashy and he doesn’t draw attention to himself. He just quietly goes out there and knocks the cover off the ball the way very few catchers can. He’ll probably finally make the All-Star team this year, but we’re fine if people just keep overlooking him. We know what we have in Los Angeles.
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