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WILL SMITH APPRECIATION POST
MemberSeptember 11, 2020 at 5:19 pm
“Will Smith has 21 [homeruns] in 77 career games. Mike Piazza hit 11 in his first 77. Roy Campanella hit eight in his first 77.”
This is a tweet from Dodger Insider. This tweet sparked some neurons in my brain and formulated this question: Is Will Smith going to be the next great Dodgers catcher?
And that question sparked this one: Who is the last great Dodgers catcher? Mike Piazza, right? He started at the catcher position for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1993-1998 and is now a Half of Famer.
There have been some All-stars since Piazza, in Yasmani Grandal, Russell Martin, and Paul Lo Duca, but there hasn’t been anyone with a Hall-of-Fame-career who played at the catcher position for the Dodgers.
My all-time favorite Dodgers catcher is the legend that is Roy Campanella. Yet, going back to the tweet from Dodgers Insider, Will Smith is on pace to crush Campanella’s power numbers.
Granted, Will Smith has not played a full season in the Majors, so this is not a serious prediction. This is merely an appreciation post with hope that Will Smith will bring stellar play to the Dodgers for many years to come.
Will Smith, in 283 plate appearances has 21 homeruns and 57 RBIs. He’s slashing .261/.364/.580. Last year, in 54 games, Smith drew 18 walks. This year, in 25 games, Smith has drawn 18 walks. Put his numbers in a 162-game season and we have 43 homers, 27 doubles, 88 runs scored and an incredible 117 RBIs!
Since last year, his strikeout percentage has nearly been in cut in half (26.5% – 18.5%) and his walk percentage has more than doubled (9.2% – 20.7%)! Snith’s hard hit %, this year, is 52.6%! Crazy when you look at the league average of 34.8%. According to baseballsavant.com, Smith beats the league in barrel % (12.4% to 6.4%), exit velocity, expected batting average, and expected slugging percentage. His defense, particularly his framing, could be better and hopefully it will be!
Hopefully, Will Smith’s progression is a habit and a sign of things to come for the next 5 years! (At least 5 years ). Dodgers’ catchers have accrued .9 WAR this season according to baseball-reference.com. That’s tied for second with the White Sox, behind J.T. Realmuto and the Phillies. If Smith can continue to dominate and set himself apart from the rest of the league, there’s no question he’s the next great Dodger catcher. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the replies!
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