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Dodgers: Dave Roberts on Having an Offense First Catcher Like Will Smith



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. 

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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. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Too bad that the Union was stupid in agreeing to play without the DH in the NL, all because of them not wanting for a season with only 8 less games and not approving expanded playoffs, Will Smith is out of the lineup when Barnes catches. Instead the pitcher has to bat to kill innings while risking injury as a result. Bottom line I am not that thrilled for this season with yet another with this major sport playing with separate rules for each league. Ridiculous! Imagine that the pitcher must bat instead of an extra hitter to help the offense that which MLB wants to lessen it for each NL team. It’s one thing if a pitcher is injured while on the mound. but its unacceptable to me should a pitcher be forced from the game as a result of an AB.

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