The Dodgers have a really interesting tandem behind the plate set for the next couple of years. Between Austin Barnes and Will Smith, they have two different guys who thrive on opposite sides of the ball.
While Austin Barnes puts up elite framing skills behind the plate, Will Smith continues to put up ridiculous numbers with the bat. The two are such a good combination that the Dodgers found ways to get them both in the lineup in 2020.
But without the universal DH in 2021, the starting job is Will Smith’s to lose. Austin Barnes will get reps with Kershaw and perhaps other veteran pitchers, but Dave Roberts will lean on Smith. Doc recently talked about the luxury that it is to have a guy like Smith behind the plate with the bat that he brings.
To have a guy that’s really elite back behind the plate and to feel comfortable hitting him somewhere in the middle of the lineup vs right, vs left is certainly a luxury. And again, all the credit goes to Will and the hitting guys…He’s constantly getting better and he’s just scratching the surface.
To say that Smith thrived with the bat during the 2020 season is an understatement. He was a huge part of the Dodgers’ success during the regular season and came up big at the right times during the playoffs.
Over 37 regular-season games, Smith slashed .289/.401/.579 with a ridiculous .980 OPS. He also had one of the best average exit velocities among catchers, absolutely crushing the ball when making contact. Slotting him into the middle of the Dodgers proved to be huge all year long.
Smith does need some work behind the plate, but his offense will keep him in the line almost on a daily basis. If the Dodgers can work with him on framing and managing a pitching staff, Smith could be among the elite behind the plate.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, interviews, live streams, and more!