Dodgers: Will Smith Not Blaming New Baseballs For His Power Outage

Everyone in the baseball world has taken notice that the balls just aren’t flying out of the park like they used to. This season, it seems a ball dies on the warning track in seemingly every game. 

Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger was the latest LA victim. On Tuesday night against the Giants, Bellinger smacked a ball that looked to be leaving the yard. Instead, it ended up being a very loud out. Hell, even the Giants pitcher thought the ball was “ten rows up”.

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On top of batters griping about the ball not traveling, pitchers have complained that the balls this year are too slick. Will Smith however, isn’t complaining. The Dodgers catcher isn’t blaming his lack of slugging this year on the new balls (quote via OCR’s Bill Plunkett).

“So yeah, it would be nice to have a few more homers on the board like normally. It’s not happened this year. MLB could change the ball at some point, it’ll start flying again – who knows. I just go day by day.”

This season, Smith’s slugging percentage stands at .404. His career average is .518. Smith’s fly ball to home run ratio stands at 17.9% for his young career. This year, it’s 10.5%. It’s certainly a small sample size (67 plate appearances), but still noticeable. 

One could argue that Smith is one of the best power hitting catchers of recent memory. His home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 25th tied former Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza for the fewest games (233) needed for a NL catcher to reach 50 career home runs. 

He might not be hitting for power just yet, but his on-base percentage is a healthy .358 thanks to Smith’s walk rate (13.4%). Even though the Dodgers backstop hasn’t been crushing the ball, manager Dave Roberts isn’t at all concerned. 

“He’s been a victim of some bad luck but he doesn’t change his approach. There’s no panic. Very unflappable. That’s why for a manager, the more players you can trust and that are dependable, you feel better running him out there.”

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