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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Hints at Surprising Catching Workload For the Regular Season

They say that two is better than one, but does that logic work with Austin Barnes and Will Smith?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 20: Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with Austin Barnes #15 after scoring on an RBI single by Enrique Hernández #14 in the fifth inning during Game 1 of the 2020 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)


The Dodgers have a wealth of talent across their 40-man roster, but their catching depth may be the best of them all.

They have two top catching prospects waiting in the wings in Keibert Ruiz and Diego Cartaya, but there just isn’t room for them on the major league roster yet. With the way that Will Smith has looked offensively and the way that Austin Barnes can command a pitching staff, the Dodgers have more talent than they know what to do with.

Related: Projecting What the Dodgers Opening Day Roster Will Look Like

As the spring draws to a close, one storyline to keep an eye on will be how the playing time will be split between Barnes and Smith. In an interview with reporters after Friday’s 7-2 win, Dave Roberts gave fans some clarity on the catching situation as the regular season draws nearer.

I think with Will [Smith] and Austin [Barnes], the sum is very good and I’ll take that against any combo in all of baseball, production-wise…I don’t know the divvying up of the playing time. But somewhere around 90 games [for Smith], something like that. I think that he can be a very impactful offensive player.

Having both players at their disposal is huge, as neither catcher has played more than 102 games behind the plate in one season. And while the jump from 60 games to 162 will be taxing for many clubs as they try and keep players fresh, the Dodgers will have the ability to rotate Smith and Barnes to keep them healthy for the postseason.

Still, this proposed workload mentioned by Doc seems somewhat surprising. Smith has quickly become one of the best catchers in the game with the bat. Over the offseason, MLB listed him as the third-best catcher in baseball, so only 90 games for the soon-to-be 26-year-old seems a little low at first glance.

Notably, both players have jumped out to hot starts this training camp, with Will Smith hitting .346 in 26 at-bats while Austin Barnes is hitting a scorching .391 over 23 at-bats. Between the two, Smith will see the bulk of the playing time, but it will be nice knowing that his backup is more than capable of filling in when called upon.

NEXT: Breaking Down Cody Bellinger’s Batting Stance Changes

Written by Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!

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  1. If Barnes can contribute offensively, his ability to call a game and frame make anything in the 50/50 range more than acceptable. I would still try and get the Fresh Prince more than 400 AB’s though. His ceiling is not yet in sight though and very soon Roberts will not be able to justify not playing him full-time.

  2. I believe that Will Smith is a star in the making. He has such an awesome work ethic. Once he sets his mind towards something, he gets it. So it won’t take him long to improve on the defensive side of catching and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if his bat gets better too. Although his bat is already the best of any catcher in the majors.

  3. Can’t they both play 2nd base and wasn’t there talk of Smith at 3rd if things didn’t work out with Turner?

    Why does the author not mention any of this?

    I know they are both catchers, and that takes a toll over the stretch of so many games, but if either or both are raking, you have to find a way to get them more at bats.

  4. I’ve been saying for 2 months, try smith at 3rd base. His impact bat is needed in the line-up. Plus smith is not the defensive catcher, nor is ruitz. Cartaya is the future. We need to work him into the system, get him acclimated to major league baseball. The biggest jump in a young player is the transfer from his 1st to 2nd season.

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