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Dodgers: Will Smith Called the Best Catcher in the NL West

The Fresh Prince is the king of the wild wild west.



Will Smith was all the hype in the summer of 2019. The young catcher, now 24 years of age, has a lot of hype surrounding him still. He started his rookie year off in extremely hot fashion, but cooled off as the temperature did.

Still, according to two different columns coming out of MLB.com, the Dodgers were ranked as having the best catching contingent heading into the 2020 season. The Dodgers will likely lean on Will Smith for the majority of at-bats, Austin Barnes as a backup, and a potential Keibert Ruiz surfacing this summer.

Here is the link to the first column by Paul Casella and the specifics:

“The Dodgers are all-in on 24-year-old Will Smith, who earned the starting job in late July and never looked back. The rookie hit 15 home runs in just 54 big league games — in addition to the 20 he hit at Triple-A Oklahoma City — and finished with a .907 OPS. Smith will be looking to regain that form in 2020 after struggling a bit down the stretch, hitting just .175 in September and .077 (1-for-13) in the postseason. Still, Smith’s upside in his sophomore season is enough to give the Dodgers the edge behind the plate in the NL West.”

Maria Guardado of MLB.com also had the same take. She championed Will Smith and the Dodgers contingent as having the best corps in the NL West. The NL West catching competition is not really a tight race with the decline of Buster Posey. Carson Kelly of the Arizona Diamondbacks had a great 2019, but Will Smith and the rest of the Dodgers’ catchers possess more upside.

“The Dodgers are all-in on the 24-year-old Smith, who was given the starting job in late July and kept it right through the postseason. Manager Dave Roberts conceded the club was “asking a lot” of the rookie, who added 15 Major League home runs to the 20 he hit at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Smith might have shown signs of fatigue down the stretch, hitting .175 in September and .077 in the playoffs. Los Angeles hasn’t added a veteran to replace Russell Martin at backup, a role that apparently goes to former starter Austin BarnesKeibert Ruiz, the club’s No. 3 prospect, will continue his seasoning at Triple-A.”

The Dodgers should be boosted at the catcher position by their youth and upside.

NEXT: The Dodgers May Bank on Their Prospects in 2020

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

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  1. I was under the impression that Austin Barnes took his “talent” to Arizona, or is that just wishful thinking on my part.

  2. One third of a season isn’t enough for me to start handing out awards, especially with the steep decline in offense at the end of that short stint. Smith remains a hope to be the right handed power hitter the Dodgers desperately need. But he’s going to have to prove it over the course of at least one full season, and perhaps miraculously maybe even into the postseason, when most other Dodger hitters go into hibernation. Barnes has been given enough time to rediscover his swing. It hasn’t worked. As soon as Ruiz is ready, Barnes should be released.

  3. Modern day baseball where prospects that decline in Sep. ” that’s when they’ re supposed to shine” carry the slump into the post season and hit .077. And your rewarded the following season by declared your the best in your division! If that’s the best, I’d sure hate to see the worst!

  4. All I can add is let’s hope Smith at least remains injury free in 2020 because if not, and Dodgers deem Ruiz as not ready for the big show guess who takes over as the starting catcher and guess who is called up to back him up. Barnes as starting catcher and of all people Rocky Gale. Now that would be a thought that would wake me up in the middle of the night!

    • The Dodgers have a way of glorifying sub play. Think if they had signed Realmuto or just paid Grandal and let Smith back him up like any reasonable minded org that was trying to win a championship. They just never seem to be prepared or willing to acknowledge that just maybe some of these guys won’t pan out! This is the same team that ran Grandal out telling us that Barnes was the next ” thing” ! Now look at the situation! They better hope Smith isn’t another one of their misevaluated prospects.

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