Will Smith was all the hype in the summer of 2019. The young catcher, now 24 years of age, has a lot of hype surrounding him still. He started his rookie year off in extremely hot fashion, but cooled off as the temperature did.
Still, according to two different columns coming out of MLB.com, the Dodgers were ranked as having the best catching contingent heading into the 2020 season. The Dodgers will likely lean on Will Smith for the majority of at-bats, Austin Barnes as a backup, and a potential Keibert Ruiz surfacing this summer.
— kitty cat (@kittycatrj) January 9, 2020
Here is the link to the first column by Paul Casella and the specifics:
“The Dodgers are all-in on 24-year-old Will Smith, who earned the starting job in late July and never looked back. The rookie hit 15 home runs in just 54 big league games — in addition to the 20 he hit at Triple-A Oklahoma City — and finished with a .907 OPS. Smith will be looking to regain that form in 2020 after struggling a bit down the stretch, hitting just .175 in September and .077 (1-for-13) in the postseason. Still, Smith’s upside in his sophomore season is enough to give the Dodgers the edge behind the plate in the NL West.”
Maria Guardado of MLB.com also had the same take. She championed Will Smith and the Dodgers contingent as having the best corps in the NL West. The NL West catching competition is not really a tight race with the decline of Buster Posey. Carson Kelly of the Arizona Diamondbacks had a great 2019, but Will Smith and the rest of the Dodgers’ catchers possess more upside.
“The Dodgers are all-in on the 24-year-old Smith, who was given the starting job in late July and kept it right through the postseason. Manager Dave Roberts conceded the club was “asking a lot” of the rookie, who added 15 Major League home runs to the 20 he hit at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Smith might have shown signs of fatigue down the stretch, hitting .175 in September and .077 in the playoffs. Los Angeles hasn’t added a veteran to replace Russell Martin at backup, a role that apparently goes to former starter Austin Barnes. Keibert Ruiz, the club’s No. 3 prospect, will continue his seasoning at Triple-A.”
The Dodgers should be boosted at the catcher position by their youth and upside.