The ridiculousness of Will Smith
Will Smith entered the 2019 season stuck between the present in Austin Barnes and the future in Keibert Ruiz. The Dodgers had signed Russell Martin to back up Austin Barnes which left Will Smith in AAA. The good news for Will Smith is that the Dodgers didn’t trade for Realmuto or trade for any other catcher that would block Smith for the future position of Dodger catcher. The bad news for Smith was that Keibert Ruiz was right behind him, and many considered him the Dodger heir apparent at catcher, not Will Smith. At best it was thought that Smith might be able to grab a year before Ruiz showed up.
Given what Will Smith is doing, he might not only be the Dodger catcher of the future, he might be the Dodger catcher of the present. It wouldn’t take much of a case to show that Will Smith might be the Dodgers best option for catcher right now. Part of that is because of how awesome Will Smith has been, part of that is because Austin Barnes continues to look like 2018 Austin Barnes and not the hoped-for 2017 version.
How awesome has Will Smith been? He has a 1.006 OPS in AAA with fourteen home runs in only 147 plate appearances. He has hit another three home runs as a Dodger in only nineteen plate appearances which have fueled his 1.148 major league OPS. Home runs aren’t his only game, he has also walked thirty-three times in about 200 combined major / minor league plate appearances. Among his three major league home runs are already two walk-off home runs with the latest coming yesterday. Most major league players will go a complete career without a walk-off home run. He has two in his first twenty-two major league at-bats. If you want to forget the hitting because the most important job for a catcher is to run the pitching staff, he’s considered a top defensive catcher with good framing skills. In short, Will Smith is probably a good guy to entrust as your starting catcher.
@clylealt has been telling me for several years that Will Smith is so good that he will be the Dodgers future catcher. She just might be right.
@DustinNosler opined several weeks ago that the Dodgers should carry Will Smith on the roster because of the flexibility of all three Dodger catchers. I didn’t see how they could configure the roster to make this happen, but they should probably do exactly that.