The ride has been quick for Dodgers catcher Will Smith in the wild wild west. Yes, this story may or may not be filled with Will Smith the actor references. The Fresh Prince of LAD made his MLB debut last May before supplanting Austin Barnes and Russell Martin for the lion’s share of starts at catcher. He’s rode the roller coaster of successes and failures and admitted to media on Tuesday that last season feels like a long time ago.
A little over a year ago I got called up and I feel like it’s been five years.
It definitely hasn’t been five years, but it’s been a bumpy season plus for the 25-year-old. While he’s still only played in 70 major league games for the Dodgers, he’s taken every opportunity to soak up the experience and learn.
From personal experience, I feel like I’ve grown a whole lot. You come into a clubhouse for the first time and you’re overwhelmed with the responsibilities of a catcher. Knowing the fine little things about each and every pitcher. Learning how to attack hitters with what pitcher’s on the mound. It’s a gradual process you have to go through. You have to experience stuff and learn from your mistakes.
Through 16 games this season, Big Willie Style has been a victim of bad luck with the bat and with health after getting steamrolled in San Diego led to him missing time on the injured list. On the offensive side of things, I Am Legend has a .184 batting average on the weight of an unlucky .128 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). His HardHit% is 43.8% and his 124 wRC+ is 4th on the team (minimum 15 games played).
Undoubtedly, the bad luck is frustrating for Smith, but after (in his mind) five seasons in the league, he knows the ups and downs of the game.