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Dodgers: MLB Insider Convinced Will Smith Could Be Among the Elite Catchers in Baseball

Offensively, there is no doubt about it.



In a lineup that features star-studded talent like the Dodgers, it’s easy to get overlooked. It’s incredibly easy for that to happen on a roster that features Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, and Cody Bellinger on a daily basis. 

So whenever someone mentions a name that doesn’t immediately pop out to you on the Dodgers roster, it’s always worth looking into. One name that we’ve seen come up often in the offseason is that of Will Smith, 

In a recent conversation with MLB insider Juan Toribio, he revealed that he was most excited to watch Smith play on a daily basis. Toribion even went so far as to say that he felt the Dodgers catcher could be one of the best hitting catchers in the National League. 

The one guy I’m actually excited to see play in person is Will Smith. He’s the one guy that everything I’ve seen and read and everything, this guy is a stud. When you’re in this lineup and you have Betts and Bellinger and Seager, I feel like it;’s pretty easy for you to go under the radar. But this guy has the potential to be the best hitting catcher in the National League. 

Smith does go slightly under the radar in terms of catcher productivity around MLB. His hard-hit percentage was among the top on the league at the position in 2020 doing it over 46 percent of the time. His BABIP didn’t always reflect that at the beginning of the Dodgers season though. At the end of it all, he finished with a .294 BABIP, good for 12th among all catchers. 

Dodgers Related: Austin Barnes Signs a 2 Year Deal 

Smith’s plus offensive numbers don’t stop there. His wRC+ of 163 was first among all catchers in baseball, and his average exit velocity of 90.8 mph was 7th. Smith also managed to OPS .980 by the season’s end, tallying 8 homeruns and 9 doubles for the Dodgers. 

If Smith can keep up that sort of production, he is going to make Dave Robert’s job very difficult in 2021. Without the benefit of the universal DH, the Dodgers may have to lean heavily on Smith behind the plate moving forward. 

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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. I think Will Smith is underrated. Barnes was almost on his way out of a Dodger uniform prior to last season, until Mookie taught him how to hit a baseball. He was totally anemic with a bat for years prior to 2020. And yet a lot of people seem to have the idea that Barnes is the better catcher, mostly because of his defensive skills, and working with the pitching staff. But Smith is young. His defensive skills and handling of pitchers will improve with experience. He is far superior to Barnes as a hitter. He came back strong offensively from a weak second half of 2019. Give Smith some time to develop and he will become a standard bearer at the catcher spot, like Yeager, Scosia, and Martin were. Forget about the 3B stuff. This guy is the catcher of the present and future. Give Barnes playing time too. There’s nothing wrong with having two catchers. Especially because they take more of a physical beating than anyone one else on the team

  2. I’m not an expert, but what I’ve read about BABIP is that it is not a good stat to use when comparing or ranking players. I’ll try to explain. Batters stay pretty close to their average BABIP year after year when they have multiple years under their belt. For example, if a player’s BABIP for 5 or 6 years averages to .320 and then has a year with a .350 BABIP, he would be considered to be lucky that year. Hence, you should expect that his BABIP will regress to something closer to .320 the following year. And visa versa, if he has a lower BABIP such as .280 one year, expect a higher BABIP closer to .320 the following year.

  3. Will Smith has the best power among the RJ jitters on this team. All true what ya said about him as well. But MLB is making a huge mistake as far as them believing there’s no health and safety issues with pitchers batting this year. They are blind. And it hurts Dodgers whenever Barnes catches., not that Barnes is a weak player but Smith sits as apposed to batting in middle of order a DH..

  4. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Barnes the catcher when Kershaw starts a game i.e. Kershaw’s “personal-catcher?” I believe the Dodgers offense struggles when Barnes catches, defensive-metrics not-withstanding.

    • Robin, Barnes will catch CK for the most part. But if the offense struggles, it will be mainly because without the DH, we have one less hitter in the lineup. But through no fault of his own, Barnes may not be as good hitting 8th in front of a pitcher who hasn’t had to bat for over a year as opposed to last year when Barnes batted 9th in front of Betts the lead off guy.

  5. Ever since he joined the team, I thought Will Smith was the second coming of Mike Piazza, with his effortless power to the opposite field. He has a better eye for balls and strikes, and even at his young age I feel he’s a better defensive catcher. HEY DODGERS ! Don’t trade him away like you did with Piazza !!! Is it my imagination, or does his baby face remind you of Jimmy Olson, cub reporter on the old Superman TV show ? Hah ! GO BLUE !

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