The Rise of Dodgers’ Star Will Smith, Breaking Down The Evolution of a Premier Catcher
Dodgers catcher Will Smith is in the midst of his best season yet as a big leaguer. He leads all MLB catchers with at least 90 at-bats in batting average (.323), on-base % (.412) and slugging % (.613) — and, with the power of adding up those last two numbers, OPS (1.025). He’s come a long way since his days at the University of Louisville.
When the Dodgers drafted Smith with the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 draft, he was known a little more for his defense than his improving offense. When he made his MLB debut less than three years later, it was more of the same. If he could hit at the big league level, it would be a huge bonus.
It’s been a massively huge bonus.
MLB Network analyst, and Will’s manager with Team USA during the recent World Baseball Classic, Mark DeRosa broke down the rapid rise of the star catcher and showed a great look at the development of his swing.
DeRosa offered up some nice praise of Smith, drawing from his time spent with him at the winter meetings.
“So we got a guy with a super high leg kick, putting down the digits all the time, catching every day behind the dish and he doesn’t punch out or give away at-bats. It’s pretty special and just being around him, I got a chance to play a round of golf with him, he is a stoic leader of men. That’s who he is. You don’t even know he’s there. But, you know, he’s there and he gives you everything he has.”
Where the package is most intriguing is when DeRo analyzes the growth of Will’s swing, which, when looking at the side profile comparison this season you can see a whole lot of Justin Turner in there.
The Dodgers are so good with Smitty in the lineup, winning 18 of his 24 starts at catcher or DH.
The 28-year-old is well on his way to his first All-Star selection this season. Also, the Dodgers really need to start figuring out a contract extension to keep him in LA for a long time.