William Dills Smith (born March 28, 1995) is an American professional baseball catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft. He made his major league debut in 2019.

Will Smith
Willsmithcatcher.jpg
Smith with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2017
Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 16
Catcher
Born: (1995-03-28) March 28, 1995 (age 24)
Louisville, Kentucky
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 28, 2019, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
(through 2019 season)
Batting average.253
Home runs15
Runs batted in42
Teams

CareerEdit

Smith attended Kentucky Country Day School in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2013, as a senior, he hit .528 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs along with pitching to a 7–1 record 0.87 ERA.[1] He went undrafted in the 2013 MLB draft and enrolled at the University of Louisville where he played college baseball. In 2016, his junior season, he slashed .382/.480/.567 with seven home runs and 43 RBIs in 55 games.[2] After his junior year, he was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft.[3] Smith signed on July 17, 2016, for a $1.775 million signing bonus.[4]

Smith began his professional career with the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer Baseball League[5] and was then quickly promoted to the Class-A Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.[6] He played in seven games for Ogden, 23 for Great Lakes and 25 for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League, hitting a combined .246.[7] He was named to the California League mid-season all-star team in 2017.[8] He hit .232 in 72 games for the Quakes with 11 homers and 43 RBI.[7] He was promoted to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League in July, but suffered a fractured hand after getting hit by a pitch in his debut with the Drillers and he spent the rest of the season on the disabled list.[9] He split 2018 between Tulsa and the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers of the Pacific Coast League, hitting .233 with 20 homers and 59 RBI.[7]

Smith began 2019 with Oklahoma City[10] but was promoted to the majors for the first time on May 27, 2019.[11] He made his major league debut the following day against the New York Mets and had two hits in four at-bats as the starting catcher. His first major league hit was a single off Steven Matz in the second inning.[12] Smith's first MLB home run was a walk off against Héctor Neris of the Philadelphia Phillies on June 1, 2019.[13] On June 23, 2019, Smith hit a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies. It was the third straight game the Dodgers won on a walk-off home run by a rookie, an MLB record.[14] He returned to the minors for a month and was selected to the Pacific Coast League team at the Triple-A All-Star Game.[15] In 62 total games for Oklahoma City in 2019 he hit .268 with 20 homers and 54 RBI.[7] Smith was recalled to the majors again on July 26 to replace Austin Barnes as the Dodgers primary catcher[16] and the following day hit a homer and two doubles against the Washington Nationals as well as driving in six runs, the most RBI by a Dodger rookie since James Loney in 2006.[17] With 26 RBI and nine homers in his first 23 games, he passed Cody Bellinger for the most in franchise history through that many contests.[18] He finished the 2019 campaign by hitting .253 in 54 games with 15 homers and 42 RBI.[19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Will Smith bio". Louisville Cardinals.
  2. ^ Jones, Steve (June 2, 2016). "Stock surges for U of L catcher Smith". Courier Journal. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  3. ^ Hoornstra, J.P. (June 9, 2016). "Dodgers use 32nd overall pick on college catcher Will Smith". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  4. ^ Stephen, Eric (June 18, 2016). "2016 MLB Draft: Dodgers reportedly sign catcher Will Smith, No. 32 overall pick". SB Nation. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  5. ^ Leboff, Michael (June 30, 2016). "Dodgers' Smith smacks first pro homer". milb.com. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Bernreuter, Hugh (July 2, 2016). "First-round draft pick Will Smith leads Loons to win in first game". Mlive.com. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d "Will Smith Register Statistics & History". Baseball Reference.
  8. ^ Lindskog, Mike (June 13, 2017). "Six All-Stars for Quakes!". Milb.com. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  9. ^ Stephen, Eric (July 15, 2017). "Dodgers catcher Will Smith on DL with broken hand". SB Nation. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Tony Gonsolin, Will Smith Among Dodgers Top Prospects On Triple-A Oklahoma City Preliminary 2019 Opening Day Roster". Dodgerblue.com. 2019-04-04.
  11. ^ Minami, Craig (May 27, 2019). "Dodgers select Will Smith's contract". SB Nation. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  12. ^ "Mets vs. Dodgers play-by-play 5-28-19". mlb.com. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  13. ^ Wexler, Sarah (June 2, 2019). "Smith's first homer a walk-off shot for LA". mlb.com. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  14. ^ Gurnick, Ken (June 23, 2019). "Dodgers 1st team ever to win 3 in row THIS WAY". MLB.com. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  15. ^ Oklahoma City Dodgers (June 26, 2019). "Will Smith and Kevin Quackenbush Named to Triple-A All-Star Game". milb.com. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  16. ^ Castillo, Jorge (July 26, 2019). "Rookie Will Smith to be Dodgers' 'primary' catcher, Dave Roberts says". LA Times. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  17. ^ "Smith doubles career RBIs in big day at the dish". mlb.com. July 27, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  18. ^ De Nicola, Christina (August 13, 2019). "Dodgers belt 6 homers in long ball spectacle". mlb.com. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  19. ^ "Will Smith stats". Baseball Reference.

External linksEdit